Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How to eat an artichoke

I'm surprised at times that people who like the flavor of artichoke have never actually eaten a whole one. So here is a little tutorial:

First - buy them only when they look very fresh - they should feel heavy for their size (not dried up), and look like leaves that would still be on the tree - not those you'd find on the ground in November. Rinse them well, and chop the hardened end off the stem.

I like to cook mine by steaming. I do this in one of two ways - either I put small to medium size artichokes in my 8 cup glass measuring cup, add some water at the bottom and cover with a plate before microwaving about twenty minutes at a low power. Or, I put them in my steamer pot. The ones I had tonight were HUGE, so I cooked them about forty-five minutes.

They are finished when a leaf EASILY pulls free from the artichoke.

Serve on a plate or in a shallow bowl, with another dish available for all the trash. (only eating ribs or cracking crabs produces as much waste).

Pull a leaf off the artichoke. Dip the end that was attached into butter if desired. Flip the leaf over so the inside is facing down, and then scrape the bottom half of the leaf with your teeth. Repeat about 76 times, until all the big leaves are finished.

When you get down to little tiny leaves you can generally lift them off all together. Now use a knife to cut away the "choke" ... there is a reason they call it that. You don't want to eat all those little hairs.

Once the choke is removed you have a lovely heart - the reward in the center of the tootsie pop!

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