I love artichokes, always have. I think it’s got to be the playing with your food thing. I learned about artichokes as a desperate attempt no to go to bed. My parents had company, they were eating artichokes, thought I would find it scary and go running back to my room; instead, they had to add a chair to the table. When you’re 5, there really is nothing like having dinner with grownups in your pajamas and piggy slippers.
I find that people are always so happy when I serve artichokes for dinner, they never think to make them for themselves, it’s always been a restaurant dish I guess. Well, believe it or not, the only thing about artichokes that really is scary are those pricklies on the end of the leaves. But worry not; we’ll fix that artichoke and it’s little pricklies too!
When shopping for artichokes, look for large, green ones that are heavy for their size. The leaves should be smooth and laying flat around the artichoke like scales. The cut part of the stem should be a little bit damp. Minor brown marks are inevitable from packing and shipping, but there should not be large bruises.
The best way to store your artichokes is in the bottom drawer of your refrigerator, in the plastic supermarket bag. If the bag is tied shut, poke a hole with your finger when you get home.
To prep the artichokes, use a sharp, serrated knife and remove at least the top inch of the bulb. Slice off the stem as well so that the artichoke sits flat.
Now take kitchen scissors and cut those prickly tips off of the remaining leaves.
Rinse the trimmed artichoke, leaves side up, under cold water and bang it on a flat surface (I use the sink bottom) to get out any remaining dirt or visitors.
Fill a medium saucepan with hot water, lemon and salt.
Bring to a boil.
Add the artichokes.
Cover and cook on medium high for 20 minutes.
Check artichokes for doneness by pulling out one of the middle leaves. If it comes out easily, it’s done. A knife should slide easily in and out of the bottom.
You can also steam your artichokes, it’s the same premise but you use less water and add a steamer basket.
Add melted butter, vinaigrette, or Dijon dressing.
These artichokes can also be served cold the next day. Chill in the refrigerator overnight sealed in plastic.
ALSO, if artichokes have been steamed in advance and stored in plastic wrap, they can be thrown in the microwave for a quick reheat.
They can also be stuffed with breadcrumbs, dusted with Parmesan cheese, drizzled with Magic Oil and placed into a 420º oven for 10 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Store leftover artichokes in an ovenproof dish to make for easier refrigerator to oven to table.
1 Lemon, cut in half, squeezed and remaining peel dropped in the water.
Breadcrumbs, about ½ to 1 cup, I sometimes add a Tbs. of the cheese to the mixture. Place the artichoke over a bowl and lightly sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture with a large spoon. Remember to spread out the leaved before you stuff them.