1 globe artichoke
3-4 slices lemon
white pepper corns
Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean countries and are widely used in the cuisines of southern Europe. They make a great addition to any salad or appetizer buffet.
The edible flesh is hidden within the base of the leaves and in the artichoke bottom itself. The tender inner lower part of the leaves is very subtle in flavor and great with a dip of either aioli, roast pepper salsa or simply drizzled with vinaigrette.
Often on hot summer days, artichokes are served as a “snack” or appetizer in bistros and street-side cafes with a nicely chilled medium to dry white wine. Young baby artichokes are of the same species and are great for grilling and roasting with roasted lamb or veal.
Cooking artichokes is fairly simple if one just follows a few guidelines.
How to Cook Artichokes
- Wash the artichoke well with cold water, then trim off the outer leaves which are tough and often bitter.
- Place your artichoke horizontally on a hard surface and with the palm of your hand press onto the stem until it breaks/tears off. Don’t cut the stem off, as during the breaking/tearing of the stem, the tough fibers that run through the stem into the soft artichoke bottom are ripped out of the bottom.
- Cut off the top 1 to 2 inches (approximately 5 cm) of the artichoke and cut off the tips of the individual leaves with scissors.
- Add 1 lemon slice to the bottom and one lemon slice on the top and secure them with butchers string.
- In a saucepan bring water to boil, season with a little olive oil, salt and peppercorns and add the remaining lemon slices.
- Place the artichokes into boiling water. As artichokes will float in water, cover them with a cloth or a wire rack to ensure they will are fully covered during the cooking process so they will be cooked evenly throughout.
- Simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size or until the artichoke bottom is soft and can easily be pierced with a toothpick or knife tip and the tender leaves can easily be pulled out.
- Remove artichokes from the water and turn upside-down to drain and remove the strings and lemons.
- Serving artichokes lukewarm is best but they can easily be cooled completely and refrigerated. Cover with a moist kitchen towel so they do not dry out.
How to Eat Artichokes
- Peel off the leaves individually, dip the bottom (fat) part of the leaf into a sauce or dip.
- Place the dipped part in your mouth. Close your mouth lightly and pull out the artichoke leaf, scrapping the flesh off the leaf with your teeth.
- Continue leaf by leaf until only the bare bottom remains. Remove the inedible hair-like thistles, cut the bottom in segments and enjoy the very best the artichoke has to offer.
Ready for some more sophisticated artichokes recipes? Please see below a great selection provided by our chefs: