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.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Check. Granola: Check. Mad Monkey Loving: Check.
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 Four: take pictures, because all that color is beautiful to behold. This step is of course optional, but highly recommended. All of your friends on Facebook and Instagram with thank you later.
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.
Anna International says
Just came across your blog via Fiesta Friday, and I love it! Great writing, and your sense of humour totally matches mine! Will be reading more.
I was mainly attracted by the artichokes though – I love them! As a child my Grandpa grew them and my sisters and I fought over who would go over to Grandpa’s for the latest artichoke, cooked exactly as you do above (though without the niceties of chopping off the pointy tips – Grandpa was an old school sort who thought children needed toughening up!). Even now I am transported back to his living room and our chat about school and the garden and life in general. It was my favourite time with him. He even called the fluffy bit on the top of the heart the choke, because if you ate it, he said you would choke. None of us ever tested the theory, but it definitely doesn’t look pleasant!
I’m so glad to hear it. I love seeing and hearing from new faces, especially the kind which share my wildly inappropriate humor.
What a great memory and I’m so envious your grandfather grew his own artichokes. Now that’s impressive.
Yes, it sounds weird, but I actually dip my chokes in a Light Miracle Whip/Ketchup mixture. Delightful! Going to have to try the lemon butter route next time.
Yup, not gonna lie, that does sound a bit strange, but since I’m fairly strange myself, I say more power to you.
beautifully done! I’m inspired to go one step past the canned stuff 🙂
You should! They’re really so easy. Promise, promise.
Davida @ The Healthy Maven says
Amazing. People get so intimidated by artichokes but they’re actually so easy to make! I can’t wait for summer when I can grill em!
Ooh grilled artichokes. Now that I know nothing about so I’m looking forward to summer too so you can teach me your ways.
Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite says
This is seriously the most helpful post I have read in a very long time. I learned so much. I have had plenty of jarred artichoke hearts and have always wanted to make a fresh one but never knew how. NOW I KNOW. Thank you!
Why thank you. What a lovely comment and compliment. I really appreciate it.
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says
My moused to make artichokes al the time. I had no idea most people hadn’t made them whole before until I grew up! Mamma was a lazy/innovative chef though – ours were microwaved. I guess I get it honestly…
I didn’t even realize you could microwave, but I should have guessed. Your mom was a pretty awesome cook. I’d say you were one lucky kid.
I love making artichokes whole, but I’ve never tried the boiling method here. I steam them over a bath of water, covered, for about 35 minutes. I don’t even bother with dipping sauce (though yours looks quite tasty). I just love eating those little bits, petal by petal and will gladly give the heart away to my husband, who thinks the petals are too much work. Great pictorial!
My Hubby thinks the petals are too much work as well, but like you, they thrill me to no end. The petals are so delicious and delicate, although I’m equally as fond of the heart as well.
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.
Awesome post! I often look at those beautiful globes, knowing that I love them, but too lazy to figure out how it all works! You have demystified it for me. They look really gorgeous and your pics are great!
Why thank you. I appreciate the comment and the compliment. I hope you try them out some time. They really are quite easy.
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
Wait, I am so confused. The only artichokes I’ve eaten are from a jar in olive oil….
You do all that work just for the ‘heart’? Are you serious?! Can we eat the coating or will we die? Okay, I am actually going to hunt this down and find it.
Just kidding, I’m visiting mum for Easter and I’m going to hunt some down and gift them to her- with this tutorial printed out 😛
I do the work for the leaves and the heart. I like it all, although the Hubby would readily agree with you Arman. Too much work for not enough payoff.
I don’t think it’ll kill you, but I don’t think it’s good for you either. Let me know what you find out though; I’m curious now.
Also let me know what you think of the whole deal once your mom makes them.
saucy gander says
Great step by step guide! The sauce looks delicious too!
Thanks, I appreciate it.
Wow! This was good. I love artichokes, but, I buy the jarred ones that are all ready to eat. I actually put some jarred artichokes in a dish I made yesterday. I think I’ll buy one whole next time I shop and go for it!
Have a great weekend! Anneli
I use the jarred ones too, especially during the winter time. It’s easy to chop them up and make soup, a dip or a quiche, but come Spring, I crave the whole artichokes.
I hope you try it, and I can’t wait to hear what you think.
thanks for these detailed instructions. I always wanted someone to teach me how to cook and eat an artichoke. Fabulous job! 🙂
Thank you. I love seeing new faces so I’m glad you stopped by and said hello.
I so love eating whole artichokes. Much like you, I love eating the leaves/petals one by one. It’s so much fun! I love artichokes so much every year I try growing them, but every year I get zero chokes, bummer! Love the photos, thanks for linking @Fiesta Friday!
I have never tried growing them so I’m mighty impressed you went that route. Too bad it hasn’t paid off….yet; maybe this is your year.
glad you grew out of that stage cause we all can benefit now from you amazing recipes and pallet. Plus i need to know how to do this, i always over cook mine!
Hey, I like that you even try, and I think you palette is pretty rocking too. Just sayin’.
Kelly - LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLE says
Ok, this could not have come at a more perfect time for me to see. JUST bought fresh artichokes for the first time. Need to experiment with them. This post looks awesome, and a great way for me to try them! Thank you, Meghan!
Timing is everything isn’t it!! I hope you enjoy your artichokes.
Sarah Pie says
Thank you so much for linking up! Your tutorial is so much more detailed and pretty than the one I found on YouTube when I was trying to clean these suckers, like Arman I was wondering if the outside part was really going to kill me if I slipped a little in… I didn’t risk it though.
Now I’m going to go have to find more so I have an excuse to make lemon butter sauces, because YUM!
I don’t think the leaves will kill you or anything that dramatic, but the tips are quite sharp and could maim you. Such dangerous food. Good thing danger is my middle name….
Damn, you make it look so easy! And to think, I just stocked up on plain and fancy jarred artichokes during my end-of-sled-hockey-season Costco run.
Oh don’t be fooled. I’ve got a jar of those too, and I’m thinking about using them to make Sarah’s artichoke risotto.
Cindy @ Hun... What's for Dinner? says
I love artichokes, but have never cooked fresh ones before. Thanks so much for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate the forum.
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe says
I absolutely LOVE artichokes – in salads, breads, you name it! When I’m working with whole artichokes though, it usually involves stuffing them – my favorite! 🙂 Love that you boiled them along with garlic, etc. I’ll have to remember that next time. [#TastyTuesdays]
I have never stuffed them before so I’ll be needing you to teach me your artichoke stuffing ways. Pretty please with some lemon butter on top.
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe says
Oops, my bad … I never checked back in for a response until now. Sorry to keep you in suspense! 😉
Here is an example of my stuffed artichokes (it always changes depending on what I have handy): http://hyethymecafe.blogspot.com/2010/12/stuffed-artichokes.html
More recently, I did them nacho style – Spinach and Chicken Artichos: http://hyethymecafe.blogspot.com/2014/09/artichos-spinach-and-chicken-artichoke.html
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe recently posted…Pesto-Stuffed Parmesan-Crusted Chicken
Thanks for sharing. Just in time for spring and with artichoke season on the horizon.
Meghan recently posted…Parmesan Rosemary Savory Granola Recipe
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe says
My sister thinks I’m nuts because every time I see baby artichokes, I think how cute it would be if everyone had their own mini stuffed artichoke. 🙂
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe recently posted…Pesto-Stuffed Parmesan-Crusted Chicken
This is seriously helpful as I am not experienced with cooking artichokes at all. I buy them in a jar or a can. And your comparison to kermit on botox cracked me up 🙂
Found you at Buns in my Oven. Pinning so I can have this on-hand and impress my family with steamed, whole artichokes. Thanks for sharing!
I’m so glad you think so. Artichokes are actually much easier than they look so I was hoping to demystify them. I’m glad I was successful, and I hope your family loves them.
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says
This is abso-FREAKIN-lutely amazing! I’ve always heard that I “shouldn’t” be intimidated by these little buggers, but to be honest, without a step-by-step, I never would have even considered trying this at home! And I had NO idea you couldn’t eat the whole leaf…oh god, what shape would I have been in if it weren’t for you?!? 😉 And now, I must make artichokes!! Just fyi, I’m saying that with both fists on my hips, in my best Wonder Woman stance! 😉
And I’m sure we’ve already talked about this before, but I just have to say I love that you grew up on buttered and sugared bread…that (well, toasted anyway) was my favorite breakfast/snack/anytime meal!
Some days butter, sugar and bread is all I need. 🙂
You better practice making some artichokes because I expect you to cook me a batch when I finally make my way to Clarksville.
I am now craving artichokes! Thanks for all the great pics.
Hey now that’s a pretty good craving to have. I’m thrilled I inspired it.
Glad you liked the pictures.
Madison @ Eating for Balance says
Excellent. I’ve never made artichokes before, and never had them. You’ve made it slightly less scary. Haha. Okay, so in all honesty I’m never rarely scared in the kitchen, almost to the point of naivety. I’m just all “Let’s do this. And if it doesn’t work out… Okay?” Basically fearless whilst actually baking/cooking and then the moment of truth comes with my concoctions where the family actually eats it. 🙂
Madison @ Eating for Balance says
*never rarely* hmm. I’m not even sure what that means except that I forgot to take out the never when I went to edit my comment.
Never, rarely…it’s all good. I’d probably forgive you most anything, especially if you cooked for me every weekend. 🙂
Oh.My.God. I just made this for dinner and Oh.My.God. It was AMAZING and I ate the whole damn thing in one go. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmy. Thanks so much for the super easy to follow pics!
Aw yeah! I’m so glad you made it and really enjoyed it. Artichokes are one of my favorite spring veggies.
Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I appreciate it.
Ali @ Home & Plate says
Thanks for these great instructions. I have never mastered the art of cooking artichokes but will try again with this easy recipe. Love them. Pinning.
Ali @ Home & Plate recently posted…Fresh Ideas & Simple Recipes
Yes artichokes are awesome. I hope you give them a try again. I’ll be rooting for you.
This is such a great tutorial, I’ve been wanting to cook with artichokes but find them quite intimidating! I steamed them once and they came out tasting great but that was my only attempt. The lemon butter sauce also looks delish!
Caroline@pickledplum recently posted…75 Healthy Dinner Recipes Ready In 30 Minutes Or Less
Thanks. I love artichokes.