Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to Cook Amazing Artichokes

Artichokes can be such an intimidating spring vegetable. If you’ve never cooked a whole artichoke before, you might feel a little bit daunted. Don't be afraid of them. They are extrememly simple to cook. And I think perhaps the best part about eating them is that it is very social.

So cook some up, sit down with your family and have a nice long visit over a couple of artichokes.

Fun fact: artichokes are actually part of the sunflower family. They make a pretty, edible ornamental in your spring garden.

You can also look for them at farmer’s markets or in your spring CSA basket. They’re also rich in potassium, which supports heart health and may reduce your risk of stroke. Artichokes also have antioxidants that help support your immune system and can help protect you fellas from prostate cancer.

Cooking Whole Artichokes (and how to eat them!)
Ingredients (Makes 1 artichoke. You’ll want to prepare one per person.)

1 whole artichoke
2 tablespoons of  seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons vinaigrette


1. Chop about 1/2″ of the pointy top off of the artichoke, then gently stuff the breadcrumbs in between the leaves.

2. Place a steamer basket into the bottom of a large pot with enough water to reach almost to the base of the basket, but not so much that the artichokes are sitting in any water. Bring the water to a boil, then place the artichokes into the pot.

3. Cover and steam for 30-40 minutes, adding a bit more water, if necessary. Your artichokes are done when the outer leaves are tender and pull away easily. The range of cooking times is broad, because it depends on the size of your artichoke and how tender it was to begin with. Just keep checking until it’s ready!

4. Serve with vinaigrette on the side for dipping.

When I was a growing up my mom would steam whole artichokes for us like this in the springtime, and it was one of our favorite meals! Eating a whole artichoke is more than just supper: it’s an activity.

Artichokes have woody outer leaves that get more tender as you make your way into the center. Even the woodiest leaves have some goods on them, though, so don’t discard them once they’re steamed! Pops served our artichokes with vinaigrette on the side. Dip the tender bottom of the leaf into the dressing, then use your teeth to scrape away the fleshy part. You can collect the leftover leaves for composting after supper.

Once you’ve peeled most of the leaves, you’ll find the hairy choke. Slice the hairy part away, and what’s left is the best part of the artichoke: the heart. We would dig into the heart with a knife and fork, and it’s heavenly.