Choosing your artichoke:
Artichoke season is here, and will maybe-hopefully last until mid to the end of May. The rounder and fatter the artichoke, the meatier it will be. Makes sense, right? Once you've picked through the first half of leaves, the inside leaves are almost all edible, delicious flesh. The thinner, sharper pointed artichokes are going to leave you scraping your teeth with very little reward. At the market, choose an artichoke with a longer stem, those will be the newer and healthier artichokes. If the stem is really short, chances are the supermarket has been chopping the stems shorter, to appear newer and greener, but they've just been in the market longer.
// Cutting your artichoke
a knife (any knife will do, I prefer a serrated knife, it slips less against the waxiness)
kitchen sheers (or really, any scissors)
1. cut stem off base so that artichoke can sit flat.
2. slice artichoke about one inch from top.
3. depending on variety of artichoke you have, you will need or not need to trim the remaining sharp peeks to make artichoke more manageable while eating. With this fatter, rounded variety it wasn't needed, but with the skinnier artichokes, it's almost always necessary.
More after the cut.
// Preparing your artichoke:
-If you like garlic, feel free to hide a few (or a ton) of slices (or whole cloves) throughout the leaves of your artichoke. It's not at all necessary, but it'll make any garlic fan happy to find some garlic on their leaf.
-You can slice up some lemons to squeeze on top of your artichoke and place in your water. This may or may not help with browning, but it does seem to keep the artichoke a bit more tender and add a touch of extra flavor.
// Cooking your artichoke:
-fill a large pot with about two inches or so of water. Don't bother measuring your water, just stick your fingers in and the water should sit just below your knuckles.
-place artichoke right side up in the middle of your pot. You can steam more than one at a time, if they fit in your pot.
-bring water to boil.
-place lid on top, and lower water down to a simmer.
-allow to simmer and steam for about 40 minutes--- cooking time will vary on size of artichoke.
-to test doneness, simply pull off an outer leaf. If it pulls off easily, it's done. If you need to tug a bit, allow to steam longer.
-serve with your favorite dressing.
// Eating your artichoke:
peel off one leaf at a time, dip bottom in dressing and scrap off meatier bits with you bottom teeth. As you get closer to the center, more and more of the lead will be edible. Once you get to bottom, you will find the fuzzy part, the choke. Scrape off the fuzz and you'll find yourself an artichoke heart!
I usually mix olive oil, lemon juice, a touch of sherry vinegar, garlic, whatever fresh herbs I have lying around--- basil is preferred--, salt, pepper, and a touch of honey and whiz it all together with my immersion blender.
But really, you can use any dressing you prefer. You can even mix mayo and lemon together in a bowl to serve :)
A fair amount of people have been asking how I prepare an artichoke and it got me thinking... I had to google the crap out the right way to cut, cook, and even eat an artichoke when I first decided to try one out (only a few years ago!). Cooking an artichoke, as easy as it is, isn't very common knowledge, so if you don't know, now you know! Simple enough, all in one place, right? I have a few more easy food related DIYs coming up. &While I still don't really plan on posting too many recipes just yet on this blog, I think it makes sense to maybe share some fun and quick cooking tutorials, that I wouldn't necessarily put in a book :) I hope you like them!