Tuesday, January 24

How To: Cook & Peel an Artichoke

I came across some gorgeous artichokes at the farmers’ market this past weekend and couldn’t resist taking a few home with me. Fresh artichokes are a real treat and so much different than the canned or frozen versions you find most places. Large ones are best steamed and make a great appetizer or side dish. I like to peel off the leaves and dip them in tzatziki sauce, but my favorite part is the heart, which I like to slice and eat with lemon and melted butter. The whole process is a bit involved, so it's a great thing to make on a lazy night where you can watch a movie while sitting around and dissecting the artichokes.

Steamed Artichokes:
  • Cut most of the stem off of 4 large artichokes so that each artichoke can stand upright, and slice 1/4"-1/2" off of the top of each.
  • Pull off any cracked or bruised outer leaves, then use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the sharp edge off of each outer leaf.
  • Place the artichokes, stem side down, into a large pot and fill with 2-3 c. of water.*
  • Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife can easily slide into the steam of each artichoke.
  • Remove the artichokes from the pot and cool for 10 minutes.
  • Peel off the outer leaves and serve with tzatziki sauce or melted butter for dipping.
  • Once all the outer leaves have been eaten, remove all the interior ones and discard.
  • Use a spoon to scrape out the hairy choke in the center,** so you will be left only with the heart.
  • Slice the heart and serve with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.

Serves four - eight (appetizer or side)
*Or enough to cover about 1" of the pot. Check back after about 30 minutes to make sure that all the water hasn't evaporated.
**This part is completely inedible.