I love love LOVE artichokes. I have loved them since I first began scraping them with the nubs of my baby teeth. Artichokes are full of potassium, vitamin c, & fiber. And they are delicious. I have made them about 4,355 times in my adult life & this is how you do … or, rather, how I do:
1. Take your artichoke, trim off the thorny tips with your kitchen shears so no one gets poked.
2. Cut the stem bluntly at the base of the choke so that it can sit upright.
3. Rinse your artichokes out & if you have the time, let them sit in a luke warm water bath for an hour – if not, no worries, just rinse them well & tip them upside down to drain.
4. Fill a large stock pot 1/4 of the way with water & sit the artichokes upright in the pot, they should be immersed about 1/4 – 1/3 of the way.
5. Put the lid on top of the pot & turn your heat up high, bringing it to a boil.
6. Once the water comes to a boil, lower the heat to a low roll ( med – low .) And simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.
7. You know your ‘choke is done when you can take a fork and stick it in and out of the base (stem) easily, (FYI, use a long ass tong fork to do this ‘cuz these chokes are HOT!)
8. Flip it over on a slotted spoon to drain & then transfer to a bowl.
During the last 5 minutes your chokes are steaming, go ahead and make your dipping butter. One stick of butter serves 2-4 people. Melt a stick of butter on your stove top, squeeze in a half of a lemon, add a pinch or so of garlic powder & a dash or so of salt. You can get fancy with the butter – press some fresh garlic in there if you’d like. Serve your chokes with a wedge of lemon for peeps to add to their butter.
NOW, after you’ve scraped off leaf after leaf of delicious artichoke meat with your choppers, you will get down to the thin leaves & instead of eating one at a time, you will scrape them in a bunch. YUM. Then, you will get to smaller and smaller leaves & eventually to the heart. You will need to scrape off the “chokers” (my mom calls them that, I don’t know what the scientific technical term is, but rumor has it, if you eat the chokers, you will die via choking. I kid. Sort of. 😉 I honestly don’t know because I’ve never eaten them, but the few that I’ve accidentally eaten didn’t feel good going down my throat.)
Here’s how you scrape the heart …
Take a spoon and scrape off the chokers, cut off the rest of the stem & dice the heart, then immerse in your butter concoction. More salt (that’s what I do, anyway,) and voila! YUM, YUM, and MORE YUM!!!
My brother & I would literally make deals with one another for extra bites of each other’s hearts … “I will do your math homework if you let me have 3 bites of your heart.” And The Husband asks me to scrape his heart & I tell him that there’s a scrapers-fee of two large heart bites. YES, people, it’s that good & there isn’t a lot of heart, so savor each bite!!!!
Now, a couple of things to mention … You can get a steamer basket for your pot, I suppose, and that sounds great, but you don’t have to be that fancy. I am going to write down steamer basket on my Christmas wish list.
Also, there’s an odd short cut method my brother came up with, (in case you need to get the artichokes on the table faster than an hour.) Prepare them like I told you to above, and wrap them loosely in a plastic grocery bag. Pop them in the microwave for about 5 minutes to “loosen them up.” And then transfer them to the boiling pot of water. Should cut your cooking time in half. It doesn’t sound safe to me to be cooking plastic bags, but I’ve done it a couple of times & I live to tell you about this, so apparently it’s not going to immediately kill you 🙂
Happy Dipping & Scraping!!