Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad

Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad on plate with napkin and fork

Welcome Spring with this Fresh-Tasting Raw Salad

Artichokes need some taming before they’re kitchen ready.  That’s because they’re actually thistles.  The mature plant has an inedible choke and sharp thorns.  So we need to trim them.

Then we need to cook the artichokes before we consume them.  Usually. 

Would you believe you can eat artichokes raw?  Well, you can, although you have to prepare them properly.  Which means slicing them thinly (i.e., shaving them) so they’re easy to eat.
 
Why bother, you might ask, when a cooked artichoke is so delicious served with melted butter or Hollandaise Sauce? Well, because it’s nice to have variety. Besides, you’ve never really tasted an artichoke until you’ve eaten one raw — the flavor has a whole ‘nother dimension.

Toss a shaved artichoke with some mushrooms, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil, and you have a salad fit for royalty.

That’s you, right?


Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad on plate with napkin and fork

Recipe:  Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad

The peak season for artichokes is spring, so if they’re not already plentiful and well-priced in your local stores, they soon will be.  You can make this salad with either baby artichokes or mature globe ones. 

The procedure discussed here follows the same principle we used in making Shaved Fennel Salad and Chopped Kale Salad. This method is ideal with baby artichokes — they haven’t yet developed chokes, so you just trim off some of the leaves and slice them thinly. But you can prepare mature artichokes almost the same way (you just need to do some extra trimming). Because baby artichokes are harder to find (and often expensive), I’m making this salad with mature ones (but I include instructions in the Notes for making it with baby artichokes).

Artichokes tend to discolor as soon as they’re cut. But acid stops that process, so just rub cut surfaces with a lemon half immediately upon slicing. Ideally, you will clean and shave both the artichokes and the mushrooms right before you mix this salad, so discoloration will be minimal. If you wish to prep the artichokes ahead of time, you can do so — but you’ll have to store them in water that contains about 10% lemon juice or vinegar (this will keep them from discoloring). Just dry them right before mixing the salad.

My recipe is adapted from one I saw in the March 2002 issue of Gourmet Magazine. Preparation time is about 20 minutes.

One mature artichoke will make one very generous first-course serving. My recipe calls for 2 large artichokes (maybe 12 or so ounces each), which makes about enough for 3 normal-sized first-course servings (or 4 small ones). But if there are only two of you, don’t worry — you’ll happily snarf it all down.

Ingredients
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 lemon, halved, for rubbing on the surface of cut artichokes
  • 2 - 4 large white mushrooms (you want roughly the same quantity of sliced mushrooms as you have sliced artichokes)
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley (Italian works best, but use the curly if you prefer)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (cheese should be well packed into cup before measuring)
Procedure
  1. For each artichoke, cut off stem and discard; rub the cut spot with lemon half to prevent discoloration.  With a sharp knife, cut off the top inch or a bit more of the artichoke.  With your fingers, bend back the outer leaves and snap them off close to the base of the artichoke.  Keep doing this until you reach inner leaves that are yellowish with pale green tips.  At this point, cut the leaves off again until they’re roughly flush with the top of the artichoke bottom.  Pull out any remaining leaves (there will be some purple ones) and with a spoon (or melon-ball cutter), scoop out the fuzzy choke.  Rub all cut surfaces with lemon half.  Using a paring knife, trim any fibrous parts from the base (when you snap off the leaves, a bit of stem remains).  Again, rub all cut surfaces with lemon half.
  2. Rinse any dirt from the mushrooms and wipe dry.  Cut off the stems.  With a sharp knife or vegetable slicer (or mandoline — be careful you don’t cut your fingers!) slice (shave) the mushrooms as thinly as possible.  Place in a medium-sized bowl, and toss with half the lemon juice.
  3. Now slice (shave) the artichokes as thinly as possible with a knife, vegetable slicer, or mandoline.  Add to the mushroom slices, add the rest of the lemon juice, and toss to coat.
  4. Add half the olive oil, and toss.  Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and the rest of the olive oil.  Toss to combine.
  5. Add about ¾ of the grated Parmesan cheese and toss.  Taste again, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  6. Plate, and add a sprinkling of the remaining Parmesan cheese to each serving as garnish.  Serve immediately.
Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad on plate with napkin and fork, overehad veiw

Notes
  • You can prepare the artichokes ahead of time and store them in a solution of water and 10% vinegar or lemon juice.  To do that, perform Step 1 of the Procedure, then Step 3, adding the thinly sliced artichoke pieces to the water/acid solution.  They’ll store fine for a few hours in the refrigerator; dry them well before preparing the salad.
  • I don’t see any advantage to preparing the mushrooms ahead of time, so I always prepare them when I’m making the salad.
  • You can chop the parsley (assuming it’s clean — I always wash mine right after it comes home from the supermarket; it takes just a minute) and grate the Parmesan (this takes a minute, too) when you need it; or right after Step 1 if you want to prepare it slightly ahead of time.
  • The original recipe calls for the Parmesan to be shaved and added as garnish at the end.  I prefer to have it grated and both tossed with the dressing (Step 5) and added as garnish (Step 6), but you might want to try this variation.
  • You might also want to dribble on a few drops of extra virgin olive oil as extra garnish right before serving.
  • If you’re using baby artichokes instead of mature ones, figure on two per person.  Some “baby” ones are actually just small mature artichokes, and have a bit of choke — so just remove the choke if that’s the case.  To prepare the baby artichokes, trim the stem and cut off the top half of the leaves.  Remove the tough outer leaves.  When you get to the tender leaves, cut the artichoke in half through the poles (lengthwise).  If you see any choke, remove it at this time.  Then slice (shave) thinly.  Oh, and don’t forget to liberally rub all cut surfaces with lemon halves throughout preparation to prevent discoloration.
  • When you’re buying artichokes, make sure they’re fresh.  Fresh ones are not discolored, and the leaves grip the body of the artichoke tightly.
  • For this recipe, we’re discarding most of the artichoke leaves.  When artichokes are cooked, they have some edible flesh at the base of each leaf (you scrape it off with your teeth).  If you wish, you can save the artichoke leaves from this recipe, steam them, and serve them separately.
  • BTW, the stem core of the artichoke is edible — it’s an extension of the heart.  You do need to trim off the tough skin, however.  I find this easiest to do with a vegetable peeler.  Usually, the artichokes you buy have stems of only an inch or so, so it’s barely worth the bother — but if the stem is longer, you definitely want to use it.
Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad on plate with napkin and fork

Fascinating Artichoke Facts

The artichoke is a species of thistle, as noted up top, and wild one are called cardoons. They’re actually the bud of a plant that flowers. We eat them well before they’re ready to bloom (once they flower, they’re inedible). Artichoke plants are large — up to 6 feet tall or so — and each plant puts out multiple buds.

Artichokes need a moderate climate to thrive. So it’s not surprising that they were first cultivated on lands bordering the Mediterranean, with Italy, Egypt, and Spain being the top producers. Today they’re grown in many spots around the world — Peru, the US, and Chile all grow major crops.

In the US, the vast majority of artichokes are grown in California (parts of which have a Mediterranean climate). Most of that production is in Monterrey County, centering around the town of Castroville — which bills itself as the “Artichoke Center of the World” and produces 75% of the US supply.  Artichokes were first planted there in 1924. Today, Castroville proudly displays the world’s largest artificial artichoke.

Castroville is known for its annual Artichoke Festival which takes place every spring (May 18th and 19th this year). Mrs. Kitchen Riffs and I have never attended, but hope to one of these days. The festival features a parade, a classic car show, three-dimensional fruit and vegetable artwork, live music, wine and chef demos, and of course lots of artichoke dishes. Since 1948, they’ve crowned an Artichoke Queen, and since 1974 an Artichoke King. The first Artichoke Queen was a young woman called Norma Jeane — who later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.

All these artichoke facts are fun. But the most important fact about artichokes is this: They’re so good to eat! We’ve posted about other artichoke dishes on Kitchen Riffs: Artichoke Dip with Cheddar Cheese and Artichoke Scoops with Scallops (the latter recipe makes a killer dish, BTW, and can be either a first course or a main).

But those dishes, like virtually all artichoke recipes, require cooked artichokes. This salad is one of the few that uses artichokes raw. The dish does require some prep work, but the payoff is worth it. I’m bowled over by the flavor of this salad. All choked up, you might say.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Artichoke Dip with Cheddar Cheese
Artichoke Scoops with Scallops
Salade Frisée aux Lardons
Caesar Salad
Chopped Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
Spinach Salad with Parmesan
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Hungarian Cucumber Salad
Shaved Fennel Salad
Edamame and Bean Salad
White Bean and Tuna Salad
Roast Strawberry Salad
Salade Niçoise
Hollandaise Sauce

82 comments:

  1. Terrific idea. It reminds me of the shaved brussels sprouts salads I've seen recently. I would never have thought to eat a raw artichoke, but I'm intrigued now, and since I love artichokes (they're such a tasty low calorie veggie), you know I'll be giving this a try.

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    1. Hi Kristi, when I first saw this recipe I was surprised too - it never occurred to me that you could eat an artichoke raw. But they're wonderful! Though you do need to slice them thinly. I think you'll really enjoy this recipe. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. mmmm this looks really tasty actually and I like that it's very different than most of the salads i eat! I have always loved artichokes but never could come up with good ways to use them, thanks for giving me one!

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    1. Hi Natalie, this is a fun way to eat artichokes. And they combine so well with mushrooms. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Wonderful combination for a light but refreshing salad :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Hi Uru, this is indeed refreshing and light. But its flavor punches above its weight! Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I love artichokes! I actually made some yesterday. I never thought of incorporating them into a salad like this, looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Kristi, if you like artichokes, this salad is definitely worth a try. It's good stuff, and different. Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I love artichokes! In both salads and dips. And I also use them in pasta sauce and pizzas.
    Thank you for this quick and simple recipe!
    All the best.

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    1. Hi La Torontoise, since you love artichokes, this recipe has your name on it! I think you'll really enjoy it. Thanks for the comment.

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  6. I do love artichokes and I remember my mother cooking with them and putting them into an iced bath of water squeezed with lemon juice to stop the discolouration and then all the business of removing the tough outer leaves. I just remember this as being an incredible amount of effort to end up with something so small so I've never cooked with them - just ordered them at restaurants - maybe I need to give this artichoke business a review because you make it sound quite effortless xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, it's not effortless, but it's pretty straightforward! And if you like artichokes, you'll definitely enjoy this salad. Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I have always loved artichokes! They are one of the very few green foods I will eat :) This dish looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Ashely, since artichokes are one of the green foods you'll eat, now you have another recipe! The dish really is delish. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. When we lived in Italy, we ate a lot of artichokes but they are off the menu for me now. But it's not that easy to find them here anyway. They are certainly an interesting vegetable.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, too bad you can't eat artichokes now! I think this recipe is actually Italian in origin - at least it feels that way to me. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. What a marvelous sounding salad! I don't think I've ever eaten raw artichokes before, but I'm willing to give them a shot...especially mixed with all the other yumminess!

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    1. Hi Liz, raw artichoke is a really nice change. This is an extremely refreshing salad. Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Hi KR,

    I see lots of artichoke in our Aussie markets too during our Spring season (Aug-Sep) but never buy and cook them. I like your artichoke salad idea and hope to try this in this coming Spring season.

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, this definitely is one of those dishes you want to eat when artichokes are in season, IMO - out of season artichokes, at least in the US, are too expensive to waste all those lovely leaves. Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Even the Queen herself would be impressed with this salad. I've never eaten artichokes raw but I'm going to give it a try when they're in season here.

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    1. Hi Maureen, this one is definitely worth a try. Totally a fun recipe. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Shaved artichokes?! I've got to get onboard with my food creativity! This is delish, John :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Kiran, this really is a great recipe! I think you'll have a good time making it. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Can I admit something? I've never had artichoke before. Weird I know. I wonder how my IBS would cope with it. I need to look into this because this just looks fabulous. John you are a marvel, everything you make and photograph is exquisite

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    1. Hi Kim, I don't know how artichokes and IBS play together, but if they do you definitely need to try an artichoke. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  14. I never knew you could eat an artichoke raw until I had a shaved salad similar to this at a fave restaurant years ago. It really was delicious. Artichokes do take some labor. But you are well rewarded in the end. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, I think you've eaten everything! Isn't this sort of dish wonderful? And as you say, whatever effort you put into making it certainly is worth it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Interesting facts about artichokes. It's good to see that someone else eats the stem as well. I always try to keep the stem as long as possible because there is never enough heart. :) what a different salad. I love the thinly sliced mushrooms with the artichokes. Great textures, great flavors! Wonderful recipe John! Thanks!

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    1. Hi MJ, this is a different salad, isn't it? And I'm always surprised more people don't know the stems are edible - you just have to peel them. Thanks for the comment.

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  16. The market has been brimming with artichokes, big and small, for the last couple weeks. I'm having a ball! With some of the small no larger than an egg, they've gone straight to an aglio e olio. Now, though, I'll be more than willing to divert a few to your salad. It sounds delicious and a great way to welcome Spring.
    We call cardoons "gobbi" and they were frequently prepared during the Winter months. When I can, I'll bring a bunch home to Zia and I don't think she'd be as excited if I brought her a dozen roses.
    Thanks for sharing another great recipe and teaching us all a bit about artichokes.

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    1. Hi John, I've had cardoons, but never prepared them myself. Sounds like I should! Those artichokes the size of an egg are wonderful - they're almost entirely edible - so good! Thanks for the comment.

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  17. This is such a lovely salad and really say "Spring is here!" Love the clean flavors you have here. :) It's always refreshing to have salads this time of year.

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    1. Hi Amy, I always start craving salads when the warmer weather begins to arrive! Just as I crave stews in the fall. ;-) Interesting how our cravings change with the weather, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  18. This is a nice way to use artichoke, got to give this a try

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    1. Hi Raymund, you'll like this, I think - definitely worth trying. Thanks for the comment.

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  19. When we lived in Miami, there was a wonderful Italian restaurant that used to make a raw artichoke salad and it was delicious...I know yours has to be too.

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    1. Hi Karen, the only time I've seen raw artichoke salads in restaurants, they've been Italian. So good! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. We're still eating for comfort in MN (it snows every day). But this does look hearty enough for our weather and a welcome change. I tried growing artichokes (no go). Don't you wonder who first looked at the homely little thistle and said, "let's eat!"

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    1. Hi Claudia, artichokes need something like a Zone 7 climate, so you'd have problems growing them (way too cold!). And it is an interesting question about who discovered how to eat artichokes and some other food (like oysters) that don't seem immediately appealing. But I'm sure glad someone figured out that artichokes (and oysters!) are tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  21. I think shaving it thinly is a great idea and a lot easier to eat. It makes the salad looks good too! I love eating artichokes but to be honest. . . never had it raw. Thank you for all the info and facts about artichokes, John. Have a good week! :)

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    1. Hi Ray, I think most people have their artichokes cooked, probably because they taste so great! But they're nice raw, too, and this salad is a fun change of pace. Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I never though of eating artichokes raw, so interesting and wonderful sounding!

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    1. Hi Chris, I know what you mean about the raw thing - it's not the way we've been taught to eat artichokes! But when shaved, they do have wonderful flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  23. This really sounds wonderful. I haven't had raw artichokes and am intrigued. I have to pick some up and try it!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, it's a really cool salad, and such a different flavor. Really worth experimenting with it, IMO. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Would you believe it if I said that I didn't try artichoke until this year? Amazing stuff! And this salad looks great, too. (Then again, I didn't get my first delivery take-out until last week...that's also amazing, but in another way.)

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    1. Hi Ala, both of those are amazing, the delivery of take-out in particular! You need to catch up on years worth of missed artichokes. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. John, this looks just wonderful - I loved shaved artichokes, and am putting this on my list of recipes to try soon. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Donalyn, isn't this a nice recipe? Truly tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  26. That's a brilliant idea!
    I've never tried raw artichokes but I'll do so definitely.
    This is the perfect spring time salad,
    light and fresh.

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    1. Hi Daniela, I think you'd enjoy this - definitely worth trying, IMO. Thanks for the comment.

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  27. A splendid salad and combination! Very toothsome and refined.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, isn't this a nice combo? Really refreshing. Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Hi John. For some reason I am so intimidated by artichokes so I never buy them. Your tips are giving me some courage to give them a try. Thanks so much for sharing this delicious salad!

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    1. Hi Nancy, there's a lot of cleaning you need to do with artichokes, so they are a bit of a minor chore. But the reward is so worth it! Thanks for the comment.

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  29. Beautiful use of artichokes, I usually have them the "french way" dipping into vinaigrette, will have to try them raw in salads.

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    1. Hi Gourmantine, dipping the leaves into a vinaigrette is wonderful (my Artichoke Scoops with Scallops uses a vinaigrette as a dressing). But raw is nice, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  30. This is fabulous, John! I've never tried shaving raw artichokes, but I can't wait to now. Shaving raw Brussels sprouts for a salad over the winter was eye-opening and delicious, so I imagine the same with artichokes. Thanks for all your terrific notes and facts, too!

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    1. Hi Hannah, if you like shaved Brussels sprouts (and you like artichokes) you'll love this dish. Totally delish. Thanks for the comment.

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  31. We love artichokes, but I've never prepared them like this before. What a brilliant idea! I can't wait to try. I've been looking for a fresh spring salad, and I think I found it!

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    1. Hi Monet, this is really a fun change of pace dish - plus artichokes have a somewhat different flavor when raw. Hope you enjoy! Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I don't have any luck with cooked artichokes!! I have given up on them and buy frozen or tinned! However, raw I can do...I can clean and prepare an artichoke no problem.
    This salad looks great John, simple, elegant and tasty! You have given me confidence to try dealing with artichokes again!!

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    1. Hi Nazneen, this is definitely worth a try - I hope you have better luck with this recipe than with cooked artichokes! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. Great salad. I love artichokes and mushrooms. Have you ever had the artichoke liquor? Sorry, my mind wandered. I've never tried raw artichokes either but I will eat artichokes however I can get them. Or make them!

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    1. Hi Abbe, no, I haven't had Cynar (the artichoke liqueur I assume you mean), although I hear it's really good stuff. This dish is definitely worth trying - something different. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. It just so happens that I competed in the Gilroy Garlic Festival Cook-Off last year and drove through Castroville one free afternoon where I had the pleasure of seeing some artichokes in full bloom. They are really beautiful plants. I love eating them and have never tried them raw, but I certainly will now. Your recipe looks delicious.

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    1. Hi Karen, it must have been fun to have competed in the Garlic Cook-Off! I've never seen an artichoke in bloom in person, but the pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for the comment.

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  35. I have never had raw artichoke...but from your description it sounds great...and yes, I would give this a try :)
    Hope you enjoy your week John :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, this recipe is really worth a try - it's lots of fun to make, and tastes quite good. Thanks for the comment.

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  36. Beautiful light and delicious salad. I have never eaten them raw, but why not this is a great idea and you can really let the clean and delicate flavors shine through. Don't you just wonder what made the first person to ever see an artichoke think to take off the thistle and pokey parts to get down to the meat.. That person whoever, he was is brilliant.

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    1. Hi Bam, I do wonder what drove the first person to eat an artichoke, but I'm awfully grateful! This really is a nice, clean salad. Thanks for the comment.

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  37. I've always wondered what artichoke was. I saw the name a lot in a cookbook, but never investigated about it until I read this post. :) When I saw the google image of a fresh artichoke, there was a-ha moment. I've seen them a lot at a farmer's market! Well, thanks for sharing this recipe. Yes, it is nice to have a variety!

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    1. Hi Sue, you definitely need to get acquainted with artichokes! They've got great flavor. You have a ton of enjoying ahead of you. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I'm really excited about this recipe. I've been eating much healthier this year and always looking for salads that are unique but without lettuce, this looks amazing!

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    1. Hi Kristy, this is certainly a different salad! And a wonderful one, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Raw and shaved artichoke? I have never tried that before. Sounds so easy and less hassle to eat my favorite artichokes for sure. You always give great detailed tips. Thank you! I learn a lot from you all the time.

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    1. Hi Nami, it's really worth trying shaved artichoke - they have a great flavor. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  40. Your salad looks so good. Interesting to learn more about the artichoke.

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    1. Hi Dawn, isn't this an interesting salad? Fun to eat, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  41. I've never tried a salad like this before but it looks so fresh and light. Perfect for summer!

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    1. Hi Christine, this really is a wonderful salad. And so refreshing in warm weather! Thanks for the comment.

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