I ate my first artichokes of the season a few weeks ago.
Of course I posted a lovely and lithe picture of them on Instagram because how else would people know what I had for dinner that night. My mental prowess may be strong, but telepathy is outside my wheelhouse.
Imagine my surprise when people confessed to being intimated by my green friends, at least in their whole and beautiful state.
Now I consider myself to be a connoisseur of many things.
Artichokes, on the other hand, is not one of them. My knowledge is minimal, although my love for the little green globes of delight is strong. Plus, I don’t have a shred of apprehension when it comes to dealing with them, which is why I’ve decided to share my insight, albeit limited, with all of you.
Growing up, I was what you would call a picky eater, with a capital Picky. I went through periods where I would eat almost nothing, except potatoes, bread covered in butter and sugar, and artichokes. My poor mother, having finally found something I would willing eat, went on an artichoke binge. It was whole artichokes, every day, all day, which is how I learned to make them. I’m sure we did, although I can’t recall, break from the simple boil and simmer method, then dip in lemon butter, which is the approach I’m bringing to the table today. It’s a good one, so I’m sharing my virtual kaleidoscope of artichoke art, also know as a Pictorial Guide on How to Cook Artichokes.
Step One: Remove any less than savory looking leaves. When you buy your artichokes from the farmers market or the grocery store, they should be robust, perky and fairly green; like Kermit the Frog on Botox. If you let them sit in your crisper drawer for a handful of weeks like I did, some of your leaves will start to turn. Simply pull them off.
Step Two: cut the stem down to a manageable nub (about half an inch) and snip the funny little ends on the tip of each leaf (yes, I speak in highly technical terms) with a pair of kitchen shears. Regular scissors would work wonders too.
The end result is a freshly shorn ‘choke, without the painful little daggers on the tip of each leaf. I guess I should have warned you about that at the beginning of step two. My bad. Hopefully you survived with all your digits intact.
Step Three: toss the beautiful buggers into a pot of water, along with some lemon slices, a whole clove of peeled garlic, a Bay leaf, and a stalk of celery if you’ve got one.
Step Five: bring your artichokes to a boil and then cover them and reduce the heat to simmer for 45 minutes.
Step Six: while your artichokes are simmering away, prepare your lemon butter sauce. For two artichokes, I used 3 Tablespoons of melted butter, the juice of half a lemon, and one green onion. Combine all three ingredients and then taste and adjust as needed.
Step Seven: remove the artichokes from the boiling water and drain. With a pair of kitchen tongs, I hold them over the kitchen sink and squeeze gently to release any excess water.
Step Eight: you are ready to eat your artichokes. Grab your now fully cooked beauties, your lemon butter sauce and a dump bowl for the leaves.
Step Nine: this step I call The Dip, and I have several photos for you.
Before I get to the technicalities, a word: It’s true you only eat the base of each leaf. This is considered the ‘meat of the artichoke.’ The Hubby thinks artichokes are too much work for such a small portion of food. I, of course, think it’s well worth it.
Remove the leaf from the artichoke using your thumb and forefinger (or really whatever phalanges you prefer) and carefully (or wildly) dip the base of the leaf into your lemon butter sauce. Insert the lemon buttered covered base into your mouth to eat the edible bit. Discard remaining portion of the leaf in your dump bowl.
Towards the end or the deep interior of the artichoke, your leaves will get thinner and smaller, making it easier to group, dip and dump entire clusters of leaves in a single bite. It is sweet bliss and efficiency at it’s finest.
Step Ten: at long last, we have come to the heart of the matter or really the heart of the artichoke. The top center of the heart is a bit furry, for lack of a better term. Cut the fur out and off and all that remains in your meaty heart, the very best part. It’s also where you get the most bang for your buck. Dip the heart in your lemon butter sauce and then savor every last bite.
There you have it my fellow foodies and artichoke lovers: a pictorial guide to cooking artichokes in ten easy steps. It’s official, you can now grab life by the choke and get dipping.
Wow, that last line was bad. Forgive me.
Artichokes and a Lemon Butter Sauce
- 2 Artichokes
- 1 Lemon, halved
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 clove of Garlic
- 1 stalk of celery (optional)
- 3 Tablespoons of Butter
- 1 Green Onion, minced
- Cut stem on the artichoke down to a half an inch. Remove any leaves that are starting to turn. Cut the funny little dips with kitchen shears.
- Add your artichokes to a pot full of water, along with a Bay leaf, a clove of garlic, a celery stalk and two slices of lemon (save the remaining portion of lemon to make your Lemon Butter sauce). Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove from pot and drain artichokes. Remove outside handful of leaves.
Lemon Butter Sauce Directions
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in microwave or on stove top. Stir in the juice of your remaining half lemon and your minced green onion. Taste and adjust flavor as necessary.
Today’s post is linked with Slices of Sarah Pie’s Chopped Kitchen Challenge because artichokes are the bomb.com, and I like a little healthy kitchen competition. If you haven’t gotten in on these challenges yet, you really need to start. I’ll even share my prize, presuming of course I win. I’m totally presuming that.
This post is also linked up with Laura’s Strange But Good because for some reason people find whole artichokes unusual and a wee bit intimidating. Hopefully after going through this tutorial, they will seem less strange and just straight up good.
Last but certainly not least, I’m linking up with She Eats Fresh Food Wednesdays, Anyonita Nibbles Tasty Tuesday’s, Hun… What’s for Dinner’s Simply Supper Tuesday’s, Buns in my Oven What’s Cookin’ Wednesday and The Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday.
Have you ever cooked whole artichokes before? What’s your favorite method of preparing them? Any tips? If you have any artichoke recipes, feel free to share the link in the comment section below and then head on over to Sarah’s site to join the challenge.