How to Choose an Artichoke
Artichokes are a variety of thistle with a wide range of types to choose from. Some have rounder leaves, some appear more pointy, some are smaller than others, however, all be prepared and eaten the same way. When choosing artichokes at the store, you want the ones that are heavy and firm. I like to choose the ones with the thickest stalks as well. Size and type are up to you! Here’s an in depth article on a variety of artichokes.
How to Cook Them…
Before cooking, wash artichokes in cool water. I like to then remove the stem so that I have a flat surface on the bottom of the artichoke. Trim away any excess leaves on the stem and then cut a dime-width sliver from the bottom end. You can cook the stem right along with the rest of the artichoke since the tender inside is a continuation of the heart.
If you’d like the top of your artichoke to be less pointy, cut away the top thornpart of the leaf. I like to leave the head intact though, since the top end of each leaf is good for holding while eating. Some artichokes are more prickly than others. The round, globe artichokes may not need the tops trimmed, whereas the taller varieties have a small thorn at the top that is easier to hold when it is cut off.
Once trimmed, place the artichoke with the leaves facing up in a large pot or Dutch oven. Arrange the stems in around the heads, and fill the bottom of the pot with 1 to 2 inches of water. You should have enough water for the artichokes to cook for 45 minutes to an hour without the water evaporating.
Next, bring the water to a boil over medium heat, cover, turn to low or medium-low, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You’ll know when the artichokes are cooked through when one of the middle leaves can be easily pulled out. After you pull it, the tender bottom flesh should also be soft and scrape off easily between your teeth.
Ume-Flax Dipping SauceChef Dawn Ludwig