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See that flower up there? That's cockscomb. And, although it might not seem like it, it's not actually a flower. It's a vegetable - one of the famous leafy greens! AND you can grow it in your Smart Garden!
Cockscomb is a popular ingredient in many parts of the world, all the way from Africa to Indonesia and India. Its stem, leaves and flowers are used for stews, soups and as sides to meat and poultry. We love it as a snack, in dressings or smoothies, or sauteed with salt and pepper as a side dish. And let's not even get started on how amazing a cockscomb flower looks as a garnish on salads or steaks. Mmm, drooling.
When eaten young, cockscomb is a great source of protein (yes, yes - when it comes to protein, leafy greens compete with chicken and eggs!), vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Its flavor can be compared to spinach and it has a basil-like texture. So, why not try it with scrambled eggs too!
If trying out the world's most beautiful veggie sounds like something you'd be up to, there's something you should know about harvesting it.
If you wish to eat the whole cockscomb plant, harvest it just before it starts flowering. This way, the stem and the leaves won't be too stringy and chewy. You can, of course, snack on the leaves even after it has started flowering but they will become more tender and bitter. You can still, however, use the leaves as garnish!
Let's get cooking, shall we? Oddly, there aren't too many cockscomb recipes out there on the internet, so this would be the perfect ingredient to experiment with in simple dishes as the Africans and Indonesians do. We did, however, find a glorious sauteed baby artichoke with cockscomb recipe on ediblefingerlakes.com, which we loved and adapted a little bit to share with you guys as well. Let us know how you like it!
Sauteed Baby Artichokes with Cockscomb (Click & Grow style)
8 baby artichokes
3 cockscombs from your Smart Garden (leaves and flowers)
Deodorized coconut oil or grapeseed oil
A chunk of fresh thyme
So, what do you do?
Firstly, scrub the artichokes and cut away the outer leaves and the stem. Cut them in half and put them in a colander to drain.
Then, separate the cockscomb flowers from the leaves and, over medium flame, heat the oil in a sauté pan.
Once the oil is hot, add artichokes, salt and pepper to the pan and sauté for about 10-15 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, add fresh thyme. During the last 5 minutes of sautéing, add the cockscomb leaves too.
That's it! Now you can garnish the whole thing with the flowers and enjoy it like this or as a side.