Up until two years ago I had never tried an artichoke, let alone cooked one. My BF grew up eating them and because they are one of his favorite foods I figured I could at least learn how to make them for him.
I went to the grocery store and headed to the fruit and vegetable section. Fortunately for me, the produce guy was there setting out some new stock and so I was able to ask him how to prepare an artichoke. Unfortunately, he had never made one. The lady that was shopping next to me when I asked had and she told me the best way was to steam or grill them. I chose to go with the steaming method and today I am going to show you how to do this.
I always begin by cutting off the stem for easier handling. You will see what I mean by this as we go along. Just use your knife to cut a nice flat surface across the bottom of the artichoke without cutting into the actual body itself.
Once you have cleaned your artichoke you will want to remove all the pointy thorn ends from the petals. I usually do this in two steps. One, I make a large cut clear across the top of the artichoke as far down as the center (where the purple heart is), and two, I then use my kitchen shears to clean up the ends that are farther down the body.
Next, I slice 1 or two cloves of garlic, depending on size and I place those slices inside the little pockets of the petals. I then follow behind with some butter and do the same. I am using a butter substitute here and that works fine, but real butter is a delicious treat once in a while too.
This choke is ready for steaming. So set up your pan, making sure you are using a pan that is deep enough to fit your artichoke and your steam tray and still be covered with a lid. Add enough water to the pan so that you can see it just below the surface of the steam tray and turn your heat to high or medium high.
Once the water begins to boil place you artichoke on the steam tray and cover with the pan lid. I usually have a tea kettle full of water heating on the back burner as you will need to add more water as you go. You want to steam your artichoke for at least 30 minutes or more, checking periodically to make sure there is still water in the pan. A good way to check its progress is to test the petals with some tongs. When you grab a petal from the side by its top with your tongs and it gives easily your artichoke is done.
Once your artichoke is ready you simply remove it carefully from your pan and serve. I sprinkle my finished artichoke with a little sea salt before serving. My BF likes his with a little bit of mayo so I plate the artichoke on a large platter with a small ramekin of mayo for dipping a larger bowl for the eaten petals. The little slices of steamed garlic add quite a bit of flavor to the heart and the butter adds that melt in your mouth deliciousness, while the salt amps the natural flavors of all three ingredients.
If you have never tried an artichoke before, I feel it is my duty to inform you how to eat an artichoke. You don’t eat the petals. You use your teeth to scrape the base of the petals where some of the heart is and once the base petals have been removed you can cut up the remaining heart and eat that with a fork.
Here is an excellent article demonstrating the edible parts of an artichoke.
I hope you enjoy this easy recipe. It’s a wonderful and relatively healthy, depending on how much butter or mayo you use, appetizer for any meal. Let me know what you think.