If you haven't seen Amélie, check it out. It's utterly charming. Unless you don't speak French and hate subtitles. Then forget it.
The French call artichokes "le plat des pauvres" (poor man's dish) because there's more when you're done than when you started.
Les artichauts, c'est un vrai plat de pauvres. C'est le seul plat que quand t'as fini de manger, t'en as plus dans ton assiette que quand tu as commencé ! (COLUCHE, French comedian)
Atichokes, now there's a real poor guy's food. It's the only dish where you've got more on your plate when you're done than when you'd started.
The first artichoke I ever ate was in France with the Blanchet family. I had no idea how to eat it. Once I got to the choke Jean Claude said to me, "you won't like that part, give it to me". Marie-Claude, my surrogate mom, shooed him away from my prize and showed me how to scrape the choke from the heart, the best part.
That memory comes back to me every time I eat an artichoke. Vous me manquez énormément, mes amis.
Here's a recipe for a traditional French vinaigrette to be used as a dressing for summer salads and a dip for artichoke leaves.
In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and salt/pepper to taste. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (not olive oil), one at a time, stirring well to emulsify. Use immediately.
For variation, mix in any of the following:
- fresh chopped or dried herbs, such as tarragon, savory, or basil
- minced shallots
- roasted garlic paste.