Love me tender
Like oysters and durian, artichokes are not immediately loveable. You have to look past their spiny leaves and hairy hearts to find the tender, nutty flesh of these thistle flowers. Most likely grown in Monterey County, the artichokes at local markets are abundant in spring, with a smaller crop in the fall. Use sturdy scissors to snip off the leaf tips before steaming the choke whole, then dip the leaves in lemon butter and scrape them clean. Smaller “baby” artichokes can be quartered or halved and eaten entirely, pan-seared with bacon and tossed with garlic for a rustic side dish.