As you can see with my website icon, I love artichokes. I love the ease of cooking, the health benefits, the way they taste and, of course, ripping through them to get to their heart. So good (more on that in the menu under Bio).
You Will Need:
- Kitchen Shears
- A Knife
- Olive Oil
- Dried Basil
- Salt and Pepper
The first thing you’ll want to do is rinse your artichokes. Then take the teeny tiny leaves off the underneath that you won’t be eating; there’s no meat on them.
After you have done that, get a pair of scissors and start trimming off the rough pointed edges of each leaf.
After you have trimmed everything down, cut the stems off as close as you can get to the bottom of the artichokes, while still leaving something for them to sit on.
I like to place my artichokes upside down when I steam them. I think it’s easier to steam them that way because the water goes up, steams and drops back down into the bowl. Also, when using a knife to check them, their ends are already there for you without having to flip them over.
Steam them for about a half hour, checking on them at around 20 minutes. Get a knife and see if you can push it through (easily) the entire stem. When you can, you’ll know they’re done.
You will also see their color change to a deeper green.
Get your plates together, I recommend a separate dish or bowl to dip your artichoke in and a two layer plate service for serving the actual artichokes. The lunch plate holds the artichoke and the dinner plate stores the eaten leaves. In a bowl, melt the butter, add a small amount of oil to thin it out a bit and add your salt, pepper and basil. If you have parmesan cheese it would be nice here with the oil and basil (no butter).
As you pull off each artichoke leaf, dunk into the dipping liquid and scrape the meat off with your teeth.
You will work your way around until you get to a very thin portion of leaves which you can just pull off like a top, dunk in the butter and scrape the meat off all at once.
Use a knife to cut around the top and pull out the “hairy choke”. You do not want to eat this.
What you will be left with is the heart. The most nutrient dense portion of the vegetable which, you can do several things with. Some people like to pour a bit of oil over the top with some parmesan cheese and bake it for a few minutes to melt the cheese. You could be a puritan and just eat it with the dipping sauce. I like to cut mine into small pieces, add them to the dish and let them marinate just a bit before eating.
The carnage left over is quite dramatic but feels very satisfying in an odd way…
Tip: if you usually like to use your garbage disposal, don’t in this case. The leaves and choke are too fibrous.