Artichokes are a strange looking food type, and most people look at these with complete confusion and frustration on their faces because firstly they have no idea on how to get into them and secondly once they fathom this out they just don’t know how to cook them.
Well, ladies and gentlemen we are about to help you with a short guide on how you can make a soup or salad from one of these green and pleasant vegetables. The one thing you need to keep in mind is that artichokes don’t come in one size, they vary in terms of growth so the larger artichokes will take longer to cook then the smaller ones, but there shouldn’t be an alarming surprised in that fact.
Firstly, these are often cooked best when you steam or boil them, with steam being my preferred method as it locks in all the good nutrients that boiling can take out. What you will find is that the steaming process also locks in a lot of the flavours so it’s by far the best route to take even if you don’t have a steamer unit available in your kitchen.
Now we are ready to begin the preparation so the very first step is to take off that long stalk and steam as it isn’t needed. Now we will look at the main part of this vegetable where the leaves are growing at the top. You will notice that these are shaped like horns at the end, and the general rule of thumb is that the fresher the artichoke is the more closed up it will be. If the petals are opening up then they won’t be as fresh.
Next, you can take a pair of kitchen scissors and chop off the thorny ends of the leaves so you are left with flat edges leaves. With that and the stem gone the only other thing you need to do is chop the top off the artichoke and you should be ready to start steaming.
Rinse off any excess dirt or grit that may have been caught up in the leaves before you steam by simply washing it under some cold water in your sink.
Once done grab yourself a large pot and put about an inch of water in it, with the additional seasonings such as lemon, bay leafs, or most peoples favourite; garlic. You will now need to add a steaming basket to your large pot in order to rest the artichokes on so that you can successfully steam them. Bring the water to a boil and then cover the pot with a lid and allow them to simmer for about 20-40 minutes depending on the size of the artichokes and just how many that you have put into the pot.
By the end of the cooking time take the pot off the boil and allow the artichokes to cool on the side for 5 minutes.
Usually a dip comes in quite handy when eating these and I tend to use mayonnaise personally but you can use any kind of dip you like, whether its mustard, butter, or a vinegar based dip, they all work a treat and tingle your taste buds.
After the artichokes have cooked the leaves should have lifted a little, so they won’t be as tightly closed as before you steamed them. To eat an artichoke you just need to peel off a petal one at a time and then dip them in your desired sauce.
Now this next part is important as you don’t actually eat the whole petal. What you need to do is place the petal dip side down into your mouth and use your teeth (as a scraper) to remove the edible part of the petal. You will feel this part come away as you follow that process and the sauce will just add a wonderful taste to the artichoke.
Once you have eaten all of the petals then you don’t need to stop there as you can also eat that middle part, and the heart of the artichoke (but don’t eat the fuzzy part). Grab yourself a knife as you will need these to cut out and scrape those final parts of the artichoke out.
That is all there is to it! It’s a quick and easy way to prepare, cook and then eat an artichoke and the more that you get used to this wonderful green vegetable the easier it will become to do all of those 3 steps without having to think about what to do next. If you haven’t had the chance to eat one of these yet, then what are you waiting for?