Artichokes look way more intimidating than they actually are. If you’ve never bought a fresh artichoke and cooked it yourself I highly encourage you to do so. It’s a much different experience than eating the (better known) marinated-in-a-jar kind and in my opinion taste better too!
There are numerous ways to prepare an artichoke. You can also cook the artichoke with all of the leaves intact since there is a little meat on the surface of the green, but here is a basic braising method of the artichoke heart.
Step 1: Begin by cutting off the stem and peeling off all of the green leaves around the body until it looks like the picture above.
Step 2: Using both hands, hold the artichoke with one and a pairing knife in the other. Trim all of the green off the sides and bottom, leaving the choke (the hairy inside) in place.
Step 3: Once you have cleaned up the artichoke heart place it in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice while you prepare the others. This will help prevent discoloring.
Step 4: Transfer the artichokes to a medium saucepan and add water just to cover. Add about 1-2 Tbs of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 Tbs of butter, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to low and simmer for about 25 minutes or so, or until the artichokes become tender and the water has evaporated.
Step 5: Once the artichoke is cooked, using a spoon, clean out the choke (the inedible fuzzy center) and discard. You will be left with a delicious little cup-like artichoke heart.
Step 6: There are tons of ways to eat your beautiful and freshly cooked artichoke! Serve by filling with cooked veggies for an elegant side, quarter the artichoke and serve with a tangy lemon- parsley dipping sauce (see below), or stuff it with creamed spinach and parmesan cheese and broil until brown. Bon Appétit!
Tangy Lemon-Parsley Dipping Sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- handful of chopped parsely
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste