Artichokes are one of the most versatile and delicious vegetables you can cook with. But if you’ve never cooked with an artichoke before, preparing it can feel a bit daunting. There are quite a few steps involved, and it’s not always clear what order to do things in.
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to cooking artichokes. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from how to choose the perfect artichoke to how to cook it just right.
Choosing the Perfect Artichoke
Choosing the right artichoke is the first step to cooking a delicious one. Here are some tips on what to look for:
– Look for artichokes that feel heavy for their size. This means they’re fresh and full of water.
– Choose artichokes with tightly closed leaves. If the leaves are open, the artichoke is likely past its prime.
– Check the stem. The stem should look fresh and green, not dry or brown.
Preparing Your Artichoke
Once you have your artichoke, it’s time to prepare it for cooking. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Cut off the stem. Using a sharp knife, cut off the bottom inch or so of the stem. You can discard this piece, or save it to cook along with the artichoke.
2. Trim the top. Using kitchen shears, cut off the top inch or so of the artichoke. This will remove the thorny tips of the leaves.
3. Rinse the artichoke. Rinse the artichoke under cold water. Use your fingers to spread the leaves apart a bit and get all the dirt out.
Cooking Your Artichoke
Now that your artichoke is prepped and ready to go, it’s time to cook it. Here are a few methods to choose from:
Method #1: Boiling
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. You want enough water to cover the artichoke completely.
2. Add the artichoke to the boiling water. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.
3. Cook for 25-40 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your artichoke. You’ll know it’s done when a leaf pulls out easily.
4. Drain the artichoke. Remove it from the pot using a slotted spoon, and let it drain upside-down in a colander.
Method #2: Steaming
1. Fill a pot with about an inch of water and bring it to a boil.
2. Place the artichoke on a steaming basket, and place the basket in the pot.
3. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.
4. Cook for 25-40 minutes. Again, the cooking time will depend on the size of your artichoke.
Method #3: Grilling
1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
2. Cut your artichoke in half lengthwise, and remove the choke.
3. Brush the artichoke with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Place the artichoke halves on the grill, cut-side-down.
5. Grill for 5-7 minutes, until slightly charred. Flip and grill the other side for another 5-7 minutes.
How to Eat Your Artichoke
Eating an artichoke can be a bit tricky, but it’s worth it! Here’s how to do it:
1. Start by pulling off one leaf at a time.
2. Dip the leaf in melted butter, lemon juice, or your favorite dipping sauce.
3. Place the end of the leaf in your mouth and pull it through your teeth, pulling off the soft, edible part.
4. Continue with the rest of the leaves.
5. Once you reach the center, you’ll find the heart. Remove any remaining leaves, and use a spoon to scoop out the hairy choke.
6. You can eat the heart on its own, or slice it up to use in a salad or risotto.
Q: Can I eat the stem of the artichoke?
A: Yes! The stem is edible, although it can be a bit tough. Peel the tough outer layer before cooking.
Q: How do I know if my artichoke is done?
A: You’ll know your artichoke is done when a leaf pulls out easily. You should also be able to easily pierce the heart with a fork.
Q: What are some good dipping sauces for artichokes?
A: Melted butter, lemon juice, mayonnaise, aioli, and hollandaise sauce are all delicious with artichokes.
Q: Can I cook artichokes ahead of time?
A: Yes! You can cook artichokes ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat them in the microwave or oven before serving.