Artichokes along with their cousins asparagus are the harbingers of spring and while asparagus is the easygoing child, artichokes can be malicious little beasts.
From the outside, they offer no enticement to be eaten—all prickly leaves and tough skin and the inside is even worse, no other vegetable has a part of it’s anatomy that is literally called a choke. Artichokes fall into that category of food titled, “Who Thought It Would Be A Good Idea To Eat That?”
Well whoever had the tenacity to disarm this thorny thistle was onto something because artichokes have a natural earthy-brininess that cannot be found in any other vegetable.
The easiest way to deal with an artichoke is to snip off the spiky leaf tops, slice off the stem and steam or simmer them. Serve the globes whole with garlic butter, flavored mayo, or vinaigrette for dipping. Just tear off a cooked leaf, dip, and scrape off the meaty leaf bottoms with your teeth. Once you get to the tender heart, remove the hairy choke, cut the heart into quarters and eat that too.
How To Clean An Artichoke
The easiest way to clean and prepare fresh artichokes for eating.
- Yield: 4 1x
- 4 Whole fresh artichokes
- Cut the top third of the artichoke off with a serrated knife.
- Next remove all the tough outer leaves until you get down to the tender light green or purple colored leaves. (Yes, you will remove about a third of the artichoke.) Slice about a 1/2-inch off the bottom of each stem and peel the tough skin off the stem and artichoke bottom. (I think this is easiest with a pairing knife.)
- Then cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Which, I do with a chef’s knife and I realize that I have now used 3 knives for this process, remember when I said they were malicious little beasts?
- Now scoop out the prickly little inner leaves and the choke with a small spoon and discard.
- Then cut however the recipe indicates and place in acidulated water. As you can tell from the photos, artichokes oxidize very quickly; some people rub them with lemon as they are cutting to prevent them from turning brown.
- Submerge them in the water using a small plate until you are ready to cook. Enjoy!