Mystery House



Artichokes!

There’s nothing I love like an artichoke.  I love them madly, deeply.  Always have.  I adore them so much that I’m always a bit surprised to realize that not everyone knows how to cook them.  Not everyone has even tried them.  I don’t mean canned or frozen artichoke hearts; I mean artichokes.

The M.E., in fact, was a convert.  I was the artichoke evangelist who preached the gospel of small green leaves and butter and, like any good convert, once he came around he became a true believer.   He never fails to check the quality of the chokes when he’s in the store, and gets excited when he finds good ones.

See?  Working without a list and without my ever having so much as whispered the word, this is what the M.E. brought back from the grocery store one day.

Artichoke 1

Biggest, most beautiful artichokes I’ve ever seen.  Any bigger and they wouldn’t have fit in the pot–I’m not kidding.

Artichoke 2

Dr. Evil wasn’t too thrilled with them, but he wasn’t getting one anyway.

They’re surprisingly easy to fix.  First, cut off the stems.  Don’t throw them out, though!

Artichoke 3

Then trim the pointy ends off the outer leaves with kitchen shears.  Later on, when you’re in a frenzy of artichoke-eating ecstasy, you’ll be glad bothered with this step–there are thorns on the leaves and believe me, they’re sharp.

Artichoke 4

There will be lots of good stuff for the compost bin when you’re done.

Artichoke 5

When they’re all trimmed and looking respectable, put the chokes in a pot with about an inch of water and a tablespoon of vinegar.  White or cider, doesn’t matter.  Why?  Hell if I know.  This is how my mom always did it.

Put the stems in, too.  (Mom didn’t do that, but I discovered that they have a center core of good eatin’ inside, so I do.)

Artichoke 6

Cover the pot, bring it to a boil, and then turn it down to a lively simmer.  Lively.  They’ll take awhile.  You should plan on 25 minutes or more for medium ones, and a lot more time the bigger they get.  These bad boys took an hour.  I never allow less than 30 to 40 minutes, just in case, and I don’t start our traditional artichoke accompaniment — broiled chicken — until they’re almost done.

How can you tell when that is, since the time is so loosey-goosey?  Simple.  Get a pair of tongs and pull on one of the outer leaves.  When it comes out very easily, it’s done.  And unlike most vegetables, with artichokes a little overdone is far better than a little underdone.  You want them nice and soft.

Artichoke 7

When you’re ready to serve, melt some butter.  Pull off the leaves, dip the business end of each one in the butter and scrape them through your teeth.  Heaven.  Sheer heaven.

Artichoke 8

I’d show you the whole process, down to dissecting the innards to get at the heart, but at that point we were into eating.  Not photography.  So when you get through all the leaves, scrape out the hairy stuff in the center — more compost — cut up the heart and dip it in butter, too.  Don’t forget about the insides of the stems.  The entire stem isn’t edible, but it will be obvious which is the good part and which isn’t.

That’s it.  Wasn’t that easy and fun?  Aren’t you happy?  I’m happy.  The M.E. is happy.  (Dr. Evil is complaining about the lack of proper treat distribution in this gulag he’s forced to live in, but this is nothing new.)  If you’re going to try the recipe, now’s the time.  Artichokes are at their very best in the spring, and there are lovely ones in the stores right at this very moment.  Waiting for you.  So what are you waiting for?

 

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Comments

  1. * lisa says:

    My 12 year old son loves his artichokes too… though i do not do the fancy prep. I’ll have to cut the tips off and cook the stems and see what he thinks! Good tip about the overcooking is better, I had no idea! I just showed the kid your pics, he says ‘That’s how you’re supposed to do it’

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  2. * cursingmama says:

    Sadly I’m the only artichoke lover in my household. I wonder if they could be grilled……..may investigate that this summer.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  3. * cursingmama says:

    Sadly I’m the only artichoke lover in my household. I wonder if they could be grilled……..may investigate that this summer.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  4. * Jeanne says:

    My single artichoke experience was not a good one. Perhaps I didn’t have enough butter?

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  5. * Kitt says:

    I love me some artichokes too! They were always a special treat at our house when I was growing up. Usually only once or twice a year, in season.
    You acidulate the water to keep the leaves from turning brown. If I’m just cooking them for myself I don’t bother.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  6. * Guinifer says:

    All right, all right, you’ve talked me into it. I’ll be at Kowalski’s later today….

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  7. * bellamoden says:

    I have never ever been cooked artichoke, nor have I cooked it, nor have I… ever eaten it!
    I know. I know.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  8. * bellamoden says:

    I have never ever been cooked artichoke, nor have I cooked it, nor have I… ever eaten it!
    I know. I know.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  9. * Lorette says:

    I just rub a quartered lemon over the cut edges before I cook, which I think accomplishes the same thing as the vinegar. I also use a skewer to stab from the bottom into the heart part to ensure that they are really done. And butter is always good, but try an artichoke sometime with this: put a blob of mayo in a bowl, add some curry powder, stir, add more curry to taste. It’s very yummy. You can also use the really thick greek-style plain yogurt instead of the mayo.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  10. * Chris says:

    I’ve always been curious about this…

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  11. * Chris says:

    I’ve always been curious about this…

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  12. * deb says:

    By far Kathryn’s favorite vegetable. We sometimes make a meal of just artichokes. I do mine in the microwave for speed though. She dips her’s in butter but I’m a big fan of a sauce made from mayo and lemon juice with lemon pepper.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  13. * Amy says:

    Mmmmmm….I haven’t had an artichoke in forever.

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  14. * Lydee says:

    sounds wonderful!

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  15. * del says:

    Oh, this is fabulous! I’ve always been afraid of trying artichokes for this reason–I never knew what to cut off, how to cook it, etc. This really helps. I’m definitely going to give it a try now. Thanks!!

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  16. * del says:

    Oh, this is fabulous! I’ve always been afraid of trying artichokes for this reason–I never knew what to cut off, how to cook it, etc. This really helps. I’m definitely going to give it a try now. Thanks!!

    Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
  17. * rina says:

    Artichokes??? never had one, though would love to try. Looks quite delicious.

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  18. * Nik says:

    So, I think I’m going to need myself a personal cook. You need to have yourself at my house, STAT.
    I barely cook for myself. Sandwiches, cereal, and, microwaveable meals are staples in my casa. I was always curious about artichokes, though. I knew that there were parts you were not supposed to eat, but I didn’t know which ones. I would have been eating the thorns if I hadn’t read this post *lol*

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  19. * Nik says:

    So, I think I’m going to need myself a personal cook. You need to have yourself at my house, STAT.
    I barely cook for myself. Sandwiches, cereal, and, microwaveable meals are staples in my casa. I was always curious about artichokes, though. I knew that there were parts you were not supposed to eat, but I didn’t know which ones. I would have been eating the thorns if I hadn’t read this post *lol*

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  20. * Kate says:

    nice artichokes!
    just to let you know, you won 2nd place in my blog contest! if you could send me an email with your address, I will get your clips in the mail asap!

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  21. * ragan says:

    Those are HUGE!!!!!!
    My mom loves artichokes…myself…never tried them. 🙂

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  22. * ragan says:

    Those are HUGE!!!!!!
    My mom loves artichokes…myself…never tried them. 🙂

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  23. * Cheryl S. says:

    Mmmmm. I love artichokes. But I hate the price. Sigh.

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  24. * kmkat says:

    We love chokes, too, but always laugh about the silliness of all that prep just to eat what is, at most, about two tablespoons of vegetable. And an equal amount of butter.

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  25. * kmkat says:

    We love chokes, too, but always laugh about the silliness of all that prep just to eat what is, at most, about two tablespoons of vegetable. And an equal amount of butter.

    Posted 9 years, 1 month ago


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