Artichoke

Sunday.  So we tried an artichoke tonight.  Fail.

I’d been at the grocery store this week perusing the produce isle, trying to decide what to try as my next vegetable.  Everything looked so plain, so boring, so… last week (I kept seeing lots of brussels sprouts apparently).  And then my eyes befell the artichoke.  Brilliant!  Something new and enticing.  Have you ever seen one of those things?!?!  How the heck do you eat it???  I was set to find out.  I bought one (for an astounding $2.98!!) and headed home with my find.

Come Sunday and it’s time to figure this puppy out.  I found several helpful websites that basically said the same thing.  Here is the recipe/ instructions I followed from simplyrecipes.com
I basically just cut and paste the entire thing, pictures and all.  I REALLY hope that’s not illegal!

  • 1-2 artichokes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • lemon, sliced
  1. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.
  2. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.
  3. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.
  4. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.
  5. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to Eat an Artichoke

(still from simplyrecipes.com)

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

artichoke-5.jpg artichoke-4.jpg

2. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

artichoke-10.jpg artichoke-11.jpg

Continue until all of the petals are removed.

artichoke-6.jpg artichoke-7.jpg

3. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

artichoke-8.jpg artichoke-9.jpg

I also found a handy article about steaming artichokes, found HERE

And finally, if words are too much, here’s a handy YouTube video

Tips I Learned Along The Way

  1. You don’t have to snip the ends off like the video says.  It’s just for astetics.  The simplyrecipes instructions also said to do that, but noted that the pricklies soften during steaming.
  2. I steamed mine for about 20 minutes.  I had read that if you can insert a knife with the ease of that with a baked potato, you are done!
  3. Jeff and I made the mayo and balsamic vinegar sauce.  That was delicious!

The Result

Well, there’s not much to an artichoke.  You basically get a little tiny bit of flesh with each leaf.  The mayo sauce we made was delicious and probably the reason we kept eating the thing, but for a side dish for dinner, not so great.  This would be good if you were having a fancy smancy dinner party and wanted an uppity appetizer, but for a regular meal, it was too much effort for little return.  Plus, I didn’t think the flavor was out of this world or anything.  So, in conclusion, we won’t be making artichokes again anytime in the future…unless we are invited to a fancy smancy dinner party!  It was, however, an interesting experiment and I now know more about the artichoke.

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I’ve never cooked an artichoke “from scratch” before, but I do LOVE eating them. Usually I look for them on sale canned in brine or frozen. The former can be a bit pricey (but SO good in pasta), but the frozen hearts are usually reasonable and great for salads. I also really like a artichoke dip with frozen artichokes, cream cheese, lemon, garlic, and parsley. You just blend and serve and eat with Triscuits or as a spread on sandwiches. Yum!

  2. 2

    Zojirushi said,

    I love artichokes! I think the easiest way to make them is simply to use the steamer basket in your rice cooker – if you’ve got one.

  3. 3

    We love artichokes! For special occasions we used to buy them and boil them for 50 minutes and dip them in butter! SO good! Cooking them in the rice cooker is a good idea!!


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