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Monday, August 20, 2012


MARITISTEL Silybum marianum ...
Photo from Svein Erik Larsen
cardo borriquero, caña del cardo borriquero, tovas, OCast, touas, tobas, atovas, L. Silybum marianum, Eng holy thistle, milk thistle. It is a cultivated plant of the Mediterranean. Salads are made with the young leaves and flowers, while the older leaves are used for infusions. Villena instructs to prepare them in the same manner as artichokes. It has been known to help spleen complaints, dropsy, coughs and jaundice. As a coffee substitute, the seeds are roasted. The berries, ground into powder, were used to stop excessive loss of blood during the menstrual period and for hemorrhages. The roots and stems as well as the leaves have been used to elevate liver complaints. These are administered in a juice or in infusions.  [Font. Plantas. 1999:608:845-847; Usher. 1974:540; Villena/Brown 1992:177; Villena/Calero. 2002:23a; and Villena/Navarro. 1879:44]

For 4 persons
Gently Boiling Stuffed Artichokes
Photo by: Lord-WilliamsFor 4 persons


4 hardboiled eggs
12 artichokes
1 tbsp fresh mint
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp melted butter
½ c virgin olive oil


12 sprigs of mint
4 lemon twists


A New Twist 1600 Years Old!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Boiled eggs. Peel and set aside.

Remove all the leaves from the artichokes leaving only the bottoms. Put them in cold water and let stand.

Chop the herbs and eggs. Make a mixture of this adding salt and ½ tsp black pepper. Melt the butter and add them to the mixture. Drain the artichokes and when the filling well mixed, fill the artichokes with this.

Put the artichokes in a large pot. Add a little salt, ½ tsp pepper and ½ c olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then add about 1 cup wine and cover the saucepan tightly with a lid. Take care that wine level does not reach the stuffing.

Boil gently over low heat frequently checking the amount of liquid. Slowly add up to 1 cup water but never letting the liquid go over the top of the artichokes. When that evaporates, leaving only the oil, it will have finished cooking. This will take about 1 hour.

Remove the artichokes from the pan and garnish with mint and lemon twists.
[1] It is odd that Flower labels this recipe as artichokes taking into account that Spaniards claim they invented them. Huici says before the 13th C, while Perry thinks they came about later.  Apicius does name this recipe cardiu, thistle. As milk thistle was not in season with this publication, artichokes were used. 

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