How to Prepare and Cook Artichokes
It’s fresh artichoke season and I’m finding them piled up at my local market, practically tumbling off the stands. Last week, I stood there, putting one after the other in my market basket, where I took them home to admire the beauties on my kitchen counter. But they’re not just pretty to look at; artichokes are great in salads, risotto, pastas, and even on open-face sandwiches with a spread of fresh cream cheese and herbs.
Artichokes are not hard to prepare but they do take a bit of determination, which is why they’re most often eaten whole, and steamed. However there are those times when you want to treat yourself to just the artichoke hearts. And when the prices drop at the markets, and they’re in abundance, I don’t mind spending a little time preparing them.
Artichokes will brown almost the moment you slice into them, so you need to make an acidulated water to slip them into when you’re done trimming each artichoke. (They’ll still darken, but not as significantly as if you didn’t use acidulated water. And once cooked, the discoloration should disappear.) Be prepared for lots of leaves to toss out, and if you have a compost bucket, you’ll be making it very happy. Almost as happy as you’ll be when you find yourself with a pan of freshly cooked artichokes, seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and a scattering of fresh herbs.
4 cups (1 l) cold water
8 medium, or 6 large artichokes (about 3-pounds, 1,3 kg)
Pour the water into a deep bowl. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into the water, then add the lemon halves to the water.
Lop most of the stem off an artichoke, leaving about 3/4-inch (2 cm.)
With a bread knife, or chef’s knife, cut off most of the crown or leaves of the artichoke, about an inch (3 cm) from where the stem meets the base of the artichoke.
Pull off the tough leaves.
Run a paring knife around the edge of the artichoke to remove any tough bits of skin and leaves.
Take a spoon and scoop out the fuzzy “choke” of the artichoke, inside.
Then use the paring knife to trim any last bits of skin on the stem. (If you’re not sure if something should be trimmed away or not – it will likely be tough, so get rid of it.)
Slide the trimmed artichoke into the lemon water, then repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Marinated Artichoke Hearts (Divina Cucina)
Pickled Artichokes (Honest-Food)
How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke (Simply Recipes)
How to Roast Whole Artichokes (Pinch My Salt)
Preserved Artichoke Hearts (Lynwood)