Just looking at an artichoke and trying to figure out what to do with it can be a daunting task, but just follow the steps and you are on your way to enjoying a very unusual and delicious vegetable. Artichokes contain two chemicals called cholorgenic acid and cynarin that react with the sweet receptors on your tongue making whatever you eat next taste sweet. This is why it is so hard to match a wine with artichokes. Beer is much easier.
Follow these steps below to learn how to Prep your Artichokes for cooking.
1. An artichoke
2. Trim the stem and snap off the leaves. Also the next row or two of leaves.
3. The leaves will start to be a little “meatier” now, bend and remove another row or two.
4. There are a few different varieties of artichokes. Some have little thorns on the tips of the leaves. If your artichokes have them, trim those off with scissors.
5. Cut off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the artichoke. The stem is edible. If you wish, you can peel it. I cut it off so the artichoke will sit nicely when I serve it.
6. Splay open the leaves a bit and rinse well.
Cooking and Eating Artichokes
1. Rub the trimmed artichoke with lemon to prevent it from discoloring
2. Put the trimmed artichokes, stems, the lemon you used in 1. and a couple bay leaves in a pot with water. Cover and simmer until tender. Artichokes can also be steamed. Younger one can be grilled or fried, but I would remove the choke first. There are more pictures on this below.
3. Artichokes are tender when a fork can easily pierce them.
4. Artichoke presented for service
5. To eat, turn the artichoke over and remove a leaf. The bottom part is were it is meaty.
6. Simply scrape off the meat from the leaf with your teeth (top or bottom, your preference) while holding on to the leaf and pulling it out of your mouth.
3. Continue pulling and eating the leaves until you reach the “choke”
4. The choke is what would have become the flower if the artichoke had stayed on the plant. It is all fibrous little pricky things (technical term) and you probably would choke if you tried to eat it.
5. Gently pull the choke away from the tender meaty bottom. You can use a spoon or the side of your fork to assist.
6. There it is all ready to eat, your prize at the end of the trip and what makes eating artichokes so much fun. The best is saved for last.
If you have younger more tender artichokes, you can grill or deep fry them. After you trim the leaves, leaving the stem on, cut the artichoke in half and remove the choke with a melon baller.
Here is a close-up of the artichoke. Notice the leaves and the choke.
This is what a trimmed artichoke bottom looks like. All the leaves, the choke and the stem are trimmed and peeled. This are usually cooked in boiling water with some flour to keep them whiter.
Later this week I will post the Green Goddess recipe. It is what I am dipping my artichoke in. Lots of people use butter and lemon, but I am a rebel.