Artichoke love

artichoke soufflé

I think I’m in love with artichokes. I love to eat them, I love to look at them, I even love to think about them. They are just so beautiful and delicious tasting. Sometimes I put them in a vase, they are as beautiful as any flower. I can’t get enough of these shades of green mixed with purple. When they are in season I simply want them every day.



Once when we were in Rome, looking for something special, we asked a friendly waiter at a winebar to recommend a nice place to go for dinner. The theory being that if the place is good, they will know other good places. At first the waiter gave us a few names, places we knew, places we didn’t really like. I guess he saw the disappointment in our eyes because the next time he came to our table, probably with another glass of Brunello, he dropped a name card on the table. “Maybe you will like this place, it’s a bit … special”. The card simply said, “Ristorante Piperno”. More importantly it had a lovely illustration of artichokes. My heart told me instantly, “go there”. So we found ourselves having a second lunch, deep-fried artichokes, then more deep-fried artichokes and the rest I can’t remember, but it was lovely. Everything else about the place was magical, the uniformed waiters, the forest green walls, the old school feel. We’ve gone back every time we’ve been in Rome and for years that card sat on my dressing table as a beautiful souvenir of my beloved artichokes in Rome. Over time it was smudged and ruffled by sticky little fingers but I always picked it up and put it back on the table. One day it was gone forever, with all the kids and dogs it can be difficult to hold onto fragile belongings. But I’ll always have the memories.



The point is that, for me, an artichoke can only lead to good things. It happened again last week. We have a habit of going to markets and one of our favorite stalls is “la famille Aubert”, real farm people who grow beautiful organic vegetables. Their stall always have a very seasonal feel, filled with exciting fruits and vegetables, especially the irresistible purple garlic. They also sell flowers and their daughter Elodie makes Médoc’s best organic bread. For the last few weeks they’ve had the most glorious artichokes, tight, fresh and unbelievably green. I’ve always wanted to see their farm and finally asked if I could. The answer was, but bien sûr (of course).




It was a magical place, incredible artichoke fields graced by a house that anybody would want to live in and looks like it’s been painted to go with the vegetables they grow. Calling this place special is an understatement. I arrived home with about thirty fabulous artichokes and wanted to do something great. The first few I simply steamed and enjoyed picking them apart and dipping them in olive oil, lemon, garlic and salt. But I wanted more, something I had not made before. And then it hit me, a soufflé with artichokes. I frequently make soufflés, for dessert, with cheese. But never with artichokes. I experimented with a few sorts. One turned out too lumpy but delicious. Another one was great but the cheese overpowered my precious artichokes and we can’t have that. Finally I got it right, to my taste anyway. The kids loved it, my husband begged for more and my mother-in-law liked it, and she’s not even an artichoke fan.

I wonder what I will do next with my little green wonders, perhaps stuffed with pistachios and mint, almond and garlic? Let’s see…



Artichoke Soufflés

Ingredients: (serves 4)

Note: You will only be using the artichoke hearts for this recipe.

4 large artichokes
4 eggs, separated
250 ml/ 1 cup full cream milk
60 g/ ¼ cup butter
30 g/ 4 tbsp flour + extra for dusting ramekins
25 g/ ¼ cup grated Gruyère or Comté cheese
Salt and black pepper

For the artichokes:
Trim artichokes stem and cook in boiling salted water until tender – approx 45 minutes to an hour depending on size. Drain, remove leaves, remove fuzzy choke and reserve the heart (fleshy center part). Purée artichoke hearts with a vegetable masher until smooth.

For the cheese béchamel:
On a medium heat, melt butter and add flour. Whisk until smooth and gradually add milk whisking away. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until sauce thickens. Off the heat, add grated Gruyère or Comté, stir until melted. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then add the egg yolks, one by one, followed by the artichoke purée. Mix well until smooth.

Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Add a pinch of salt then continue whisking until stiff. Fold egg whites gently into in artichoke/béchamel mixture.
Grease 4 ramequins with butter and dust with flour on all sides including base lightly. Fill the ramequins to 1/2-inch from the top with mixture.

Cook in preheated oven 180°C/ 350 F for 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately.


96 thoughts on “Artichoke love

  1. I love artichokes too, especially artichaux Breton! this is a delicious sounding recipe and so simple a must try. And your post is a feast for the always! enjoy your weekend. Karin

    1. Merci Karin! I fell in love with the artichoke fields (and that house!), the Aubert family are such lovely people, so dedicated. Have a great week-end! Mimix

    1. Bonjour! I still remember the first time I bought artichokes with my grandmother in Moissac – I was about 4 or 5, completely fascinated by this curious vegetable. She steamed them, made a lovely garlic vinaigrette and we plucked each leaves and dipped them like little postage stamps! You can imagine my surprise when I found the heart 🙂 That’s when I knew I fell in love with artichokes! Bon week-end! Mimix

    1. Bonjour Tricia! Thank you for such amazing kind words – I am so grateful! A book? I am working on it, but it will take a little bit of patience and time 🙂 Thank you for the link, yes, that is the one! When in Rome, my husband and I go there for at least 3 meals it’s that good, mainly because I love carciofi alla giuda, deep-fried artichokes. I found a link with the most wonderful artichokes illustration (the one on their name card!) – I think I might call them today and ask if they can send me one by post I miss it so much! The best name card ever! Have a lovely week-end! Mimix

  2. This is probably the best food post I’ve ever seen. The text, images and recipe are beguiling and so very stimulating. Thank you from Tasmania, (Australia) xxx

  3. The little card, the sticky fingers, dogs and children… beautiful and amusing… When we are back from our holidays (just the two of us, my parents do the babysitting…) I have to try your Soufflé and all the other recipes crowding on my list… Have a nice week-end, Mimi!

  4. Another post to treasure Mimi! My grandmother taught me to make her unique artichokes. Leave artichoke whole, trim thorns and stuff each leaf with a dab of ground meat mixture similar to that of meatballs. The only addition was the artichoke stem which was peeled, diced very small and added. Delicious and a meal in itself. Enjoy your bounty!

      1. Mimi, Artichokes are steamed so they stay very moist. I usually use 1/4 lb. of meat for 2-3 artichokes. Veal, pork, beef mix or just one of your favorite, breadcrumbs soaked in milk, parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, an egg, salt and pepper and the stems of the artichokes peeled and diced very small. Wash the artichokes, de-thorn and slip a teaspoon or so into each leaf. You can put some on the top to cap it if you have extra. I put a wire rack in the bottom of a LeCreuset with an inch of water. Place the stuffed chokes in the pot and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover and simmer slow for 45-50 minutes until the leaves are tender and want to pull off. Serve them warm or cold – they are always special!

        1. Thank you so much for sharing Linda! I will try this out this week, still have a few lovely artichokes to play with! Sounds delicious! Merci and have a lovely week! Mimix

  5. Why do you always make me feel like I’m right where you are. You are an amazing writer. Thanks for another beautiful recipe.

    1. Bonjour Judy! It is an honor to transport you to Médoc! Thank you for your kind words. I hope you will enjoy the soufflé recipe! Have a lovely week-end, Mimix

  6. Mimi, all,
    This post made my day! Thank you so much! I have some fresh artichokes from my local market and will make the soufflé this afternoon. Your post had such a significant impact on me…
    If there is one image that I associate with life in France most of the time, it’s a pile of spring’s artichokes displayed in a local market. I must admit, over the years, my love for artichokes grew so much, to an extent that it played an important role in a decision to buy our own place in the South of France; for two years now, I’ve been spending all my vacation days in the Nice/Cannes area where I feel my life like in a little paradise with plenty of opportunities to sample artichokes and experiment with myriads of recipes; it’s my very own artichokes *dans-tout-ses-etats* cooking experience:-)
    Can not agree more with your description of the artichokes fields.
    Have a great weekend!
    PS. When I’m not in France, I work and live in North Europe and right now it’s the white asperges season in this geograohic zone, so my cooking is taking advantage of this every week.

    1. Oh la la! Très heureuse to know you will make them this afternoon! So glad to know you are a fellow artichoke lovers – they are such a beautiful vegetable, so grand and filled with surprising flavors that linger on in your palate… My heart sang when I was in the artichoke fields. Enjoy the soufflés – when they are served, I always dig a little spoonful and wait until it has cooled down, perhaps 2-3 minutes, so I can fully enjoy the taste. Bon week-end – it’s mother’s day tomorrow in France 🙂 Mimix

  7. Mimi, Your recipe says to puree the artichoke hearts with a vegetable masher. I’m not sure what that is. Is it what is called a potato masher in the States? Does this mean you have some lumps, or is it a smooth puree as you would get from using a food processor?

    I will be buying my artichokes this morning at the Coastside Farmers Market, in Half Moon Bay, California. I drive past fields of artichokes and wild mustard flowers on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean en route to the Market. The artichoke souffles will make a lovely lunch. Thank you!

    1. Bonjour Molly! Yes it’s just like a potato masher – the artichoke hearts are soft when cooked so it’s very easy to mash them to a purée without lumps. You can also use a fork if you wish. I am so happy to hear you will make them! Enjoy the recipe! Have a great week-end, Mimix

  8. bravo, mimi! beautiful! i too love artichokes and have been thinking about growing them. i will never forget when my dear friend, tina, cooked them for me. i was mesmerized by the magic as i only had had them in restaurants or preserved. that memory is one of my inspirations for cooking anything.

  9. This sounds incredible. I too love artichokes and am always looking for new variations of how to use them. I have never seen them growing wildly…how beautiful they are against that dark sky!
    I will absolutely give this a try, sounds and looks divine!
    Thank you-

    1. Bonjour! Thanks so much for dropping by. The artichoke field was just like a dream, perhaps the reason why I got inspired to make a light soufflé, just like a cloud! Bon week-end! Mimix

  10. I do love a story like this….it reminds me of my childhood…always surrounded by fabulous gardens…our neighbors grew jerusalem artichokes…a bit different than these of course, but you have uncovered a memory of why I love to garden and cook and explore. Thank you for your beautiful images and ideas. You always inspire me.


    1. Bonjour Monica! Thank you for such inspiring words. I also love Jerusalem artichokes, the taste is so similar. Going to the Aubert’s farm was magical. Their daughter is a fabulous baker, she makes her own flour – I’ll have to go back soon. Bon week-end! Mimix

  11. Hi Mimi, you’re so beautiful, I love your Pictures and Recipes,so wunderful.Thank you for the great Blog.Love Greeting from Austria.Edith.

  12. Thank you for a wonderful post! the words and visuals are so charming and now I really want to make the souffle. I also love the artichoke flowers when they open all the way up and turn into the most gorgeous purple flower… the bees go crazy for it.

  13. I wish I lived in a place where artichokes grow. I love them! Thank you for the delightful recipe and photos. Happy weekend!

  14. Bonjour Mimi,
    Artichokes in bloom…..what a sight. Flowers of purple and blue. Some prefer fields of Provincal lavender but like you, I would be perfectly content, my happiest with paddocks of Medoc artichokes. When then session returns here Mimi, I will make your soufflé. Xx Anita

  15. Mimi I agree and love Artichokes. Jake’s in Delmar has some of the best stuffed artichokes!

    Please do join my latest giveaway and feature.
    Art by Karena

  16. Since I found your blog last week, I have found myself occupying every free minute with reading your older posts over and over . . . I was so thrilled when I saw a new one today.

    I do believe I could eat artichokes every day. Grilled with some seasoned olive oil, good crunchy bread and a fresh garden salad and I feel like I’m in heaven. I will definitely try making an artichoke soufflé. I desperately want to learn to cook better with more flavors and new ingredients rather than just simple recipes handed down from mom. 🙂 I’m sure it helps living in such a beautiful place with wonderful fresh markets.

    So, I adore your stories, your photos are stunning and how you write about your lives there, is so inspirational.
    I’m deciding which recipe to start with . . . . . xo

    1. Dear Sarah, thank you so much for your kind words – I am so touched! I hope you will enjoy some of the recipes here, especially this artichoke soufflé! Today I decided to deep-fry them, and I will also try Linda’s recipe (see above in comments) – I just love it when everybody shares their favourite recipes! Wishing you a fantastic week, Mimix

  17. Mimi, Greetings from Columbus, Ohio! I’ve just recently discovered your web site. Congratulations for winning Saveur’s 2013 Best Regional Food Blog. I have enjoyed reading each one of your posts, especially this one on artichokes since I share your love for them. I now feel we’re kindred spirits. Please keep on posting those lovely pictures and interesting articles. Thank you.

  18. Beautiful! Both the story and photographs are lovely, as always. And I say yes to the pistachio, mint, almond and garlic stuffed artichokes! I would love to see that.

  19. Bonjour Mimi, I love your blog! It makes me want to move to Medoc! I love artichoke and this souffle looks delicious. Love the photography, too.

  20. Hi MF,
    Hello fm Shanghai. what a beautiful website! I love everything you posted and they gourgous and delicious. You should create an app so we can get your recipe on iphone. Congradulations. I will be your dedicated follower from now on xoxo Tiffany

  21. Bonjour Mimi:Gracias por tu blog, es hermoso, magico,especial, cuando lo lees te hace soñar…Cada nueva historia, cada nueva receta la espero con mucha ilusion,me llenan de inspiracion.Me encanta cocinar y tener nuevas recetas para preparar,como el souffle de alcachofas,espectacular, estoy deseando hacerlo… comprar esas hermosas flores y transformarlas en exquisitos souffles me hace feliz. Me gusta tanto todo lo que nos muestras, que he convencido a mi marido y a unos amigos para ir de vacaciones al Medoc. Hemos alquilado una casa y pasaremos unos dias por la zona, estariamos muy agradecidos si pudieras recomendarnos algunos lugares de interes, mercados, restaurantes,playas… Gracias por todo.Con mucho cariño. Rosa

    1. Gracias Rosa! ¡Qué maravilloso para pasar sus vacaciones aquí, me permito sugerir a visitar los viñedos de Margaux, Pauillac, el pueblo de St Estèphe. En cuanto a los mercados, me gusta el de Soulac, St Vivien los miércoles y los sábados en Pauillac. M. Blondel tiene gran pez! Y mirar hacia fuera para la familia Aubert para algunas de las mejores verduras. En cuanto a las playas, en dirección a Pin Sec. San Christoly y sus pueblos de los alrededores! Para los pequeños restaurantes, pruebe Le lion d’or (admito que el servicio puede ser un poco incómodo, pero la visita es una pena!), La crepería en Vertheuil, La gare gourmande en Labarde … Uno de mis lugares favoritos para comer es en Cap Ferret, se llama Chez Hortense, a sólo una hora de aquí. Y no se olvide de visitar Bordeaux, es una hermosa ciudad – hay que visitar Cadiot-Badie para chocolates increíbles! Bonnes vacances! Mimix

  22. Hello Mimi,
    I love your posts. You inspire me every time to try your recipes. Thank you. May I also ask where your darling blue dress is from as I have looked for one like this? Thank you again and again. Fabulous pictures!! Janie in Los Angeles

  23. Oh my, what a magical place. And what beautiful artichokes. They really do look like beautiful flowers to be displayed. The food looks delicious and I anxiously await what you create with the rest. Thanks for sharing your beautiful world with us. I so enjoy my visits.

    1. Bonjour Marta! And I love your popovers with mushroom spread with rucola! What a great blog you have Marta! Everything looks delicious 🙂 Thank you for such kind words! Have a lovely week, Mimix

  24. I have been quite obsessed with artichokes myself. There’s a small, coastal town near where I live where artichokes are grown. They’re wonderful to see and you’ve captured them so beautifully here. Like you, I’ve been wanting to cook with them everyday. Your soufflé looks just perfect!

  25. One of my favourite memories is eating steamed artichokes dipped in aioli with my Mamie.
    You’re right they’re not only wonderful to eat, but beautiful to look at.

  26. Hi Mimi, I definitely want to give this recipe a try! I am not a cook, so please forgive this silly question: by “full cream milk”, do you mean whole milk? Just want to make sure you don’t mean some other special ingredient 🙂

  27. Hi Mimi….I just found you via wandering through other blogland friends. Your photographs are beautiful and so elegantly composed.

    I love artichokes in many different ways but I must admit that my favorite is still boiled in water and eaten with lemon-lime butter.

    I’m looking forward to exploring your blog……….*s*

  28. Mimi, I adore your blog. Your writing, the photos, the recipes . . . all just impeccable! I made the artichoke souffle and it was superb! Thank you so much for all these lovely posts! You and your family are simply adorable! 🙂

  29. So delicious!
    The photos, the recipes, the words…what a mouth-watering treat.
    Can’t wait to try your idea for an artichoke souffle. Simple and tasty, just as good food should be.

  30. This is beautiful! I’m so intimidated by artichokes as the one or two times I’ve tried to make them they fell short. I’ll have to follow your recipe and try again as they’re truly incredible when prepared properly.

  31. I followed this recipe and it is delicious. I managed to screw up and folded sauce into eggwhites instead of vice versa and my souffles still came out beautiful and delicious! Thank you Manger

  32. Unfortunately artichokes are cooked in very specific traditional ways here in Greece and we kin’ of got tired of them:) So, this idea is great and looks delicious! Will sure try it!
    Thank you!

  33. I’ve just discovered your blog. I’ve never made a soufflé; I’ve never eaten fresh artichokes (to my knowledge). Your photographs are beautiful & the recipe worked a treat. Thank you.

  34. I adore this post. It brings such fun memories. My niece, now 12, stays with us twice a year and on her summer visit, perhaps 4-5 years ago, we were at the market and she spotted artichokes. She admitted she’d been intrigued by them and asked, “Aunt Amy, can we please buy one for dinner?” My husband was in Japan for the week, so thought this would be a fun cooking thing we could do together (she loves to cook…still does). Of course I agreed and after going through countless recipes together to find something that appealed to her, we prepared it as simply as possible to cater to her tastes (steamed with butter). She tried a bit (NOT a big vegetable lover at that time), tried another bit, then ran upstairs and locked herself in her room (in fear I’d make her finish it…never mind we had a deal that I was happy for her to just taste something new!). It was such a funny display of drama, fitting for her age at the time. Maybe I’ll reintroduce them as soufflés now that she’s a few years older! It would be a happy prank to see her love the soufflés and later learn of what they were comprised!! She’d be amused 🙂

  35. Your ramekins are so cute! They look like the Staub round cocottes! Do you know how many quarts yours are? 0.5 or 1 quart, perhaps? I cannot wait to make so many of your recipes including this one! Such an inspiring blog! ~Rebecca

  36. What a beautiful post! I would love to know what kind of wine glasses you have featured. I have been looking for similar ones. Thanks!

  37. I just made this soufflé and the wife and girls love it. Although your recipe states four servings, I wound up with six. I looked over your recipe and photos and realized that our artichokes here in California are almost twice the size of what you have pictured. Will have to adjust next time. As you mentioned, the artichoke taste is not overwhelmed by the subtle Gruyere. Thank you for a delicious way to prepare artichokes.

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