Artichoke, thorny with a tender heart...

This vegetable owes its delicacy and birth to the man's work. Grown by Greeks and then Sicilians, artichoke is a domesticated version of a thorny bush, and then of a cardoon. It is brought to France by the Medici family and has from its very beginning an inflaming reputation, since people thought it had aphrodisiac properties... Banned from the bourgeoisie tables and kept away from prudish young girls, it's only in the 19th century that it becomes more popular.

Its taste is a little bit sour and bitter, it has been considered for a long time as a very unique vegetable; once its thorns removed, artichoke can be prepared in various ways. Frédéric Vardon cooks it with a meat stuffing in olive oil - à la barigoule- or raw for his ZINC bistrots, or in a tempura way combined with a John Dory for his starred restaurant.

Artichoke is a very delicate product, and must be selected and handled with great attention. June and July bring the best artichokes, both delicious and fleshy. Choose firm one, with a narrow heart, brittle leaves and ovoid those with black stains on the top or lower part of the artichoke, this could mean the product is not fresh. In order to preserve its gastronomic and nutritional properties, the chef recommends eating the artichoke right after you cooked it, and trying to ovoid the fridge or the open air, since it could become oxidised.