Maybe you came across a field of artichokes on a cycling trip on the island. What looks like thistles actually are thistles. But very tasty and enormously versatile ones. Their flowers make great entrees and even main courses. Now is the time for the coveted alcachofas moradas. The small purple artichokes from Mallorca are particularly aromatic. You get them at Colmado Sant Jaume or on the Mercat Ecològic, among other places.
Of course everyone has his or her own favorite artichoke recipe. I like them best roasted with baby spinach and ham, sprinkled with flor de sal. Or as risotto, with pecorino and a little lemon. Artichokes are an integral part of the Mediterranean cuisine. And since they are harvested twice a year in spring and in fall many restaurants have artichokes on the menu, one way or other.
At Stagier Bar I got alcachofas grilled with a subtly spiced pumpkin seed sauce. Maca de Castro fries them with garlic powder and bay leaf. La Mirona offers a classic version of steamed artichokes with jamon. And at Café Palmanova I had them fried with cherry tomatoes and parmesan. Good thing artichokes are not only tasty but also extremely healthy. So I can relish them as often as I like.
Pictures by Martí Blau (1-3, 6-8), Marina Anillo (4) and Majo Aguilar Calzado (5).