Artichokes are lovely, but many people are intimidated by cooking fresh artichokes and tend to go the canned artichoke route. I have to admit, they are large, prickly, and a little bit scary looking but they are also fairly easy and a great snack. In fact, I tend to crave artichokes and when I saw fresh ones for sale this past weekend, I couldn’t resist.
First things first, those artichokes need to be trimmed! After thoroughly washing the artichokes, get yourself a good pair of kitchen scissors and snip about 1 inch of the top. I find this quite difficult and had to do a little bit at a time. Next trim the stem so it is flat, and remove some of the stray looking bottom leaves. As you are doing this, you are supposed to be rubbing the artichoke in lemon juice to prevent discolouration but I don’t worry that much about these sort of things.
Next step is to get about an inch of water and about 2 tbsp of lemon juice on the boil. You can either put your artichokes straight in sitting them on your bottom, or if you have a steamer basket place them on that with their stem end in the air. I also put a few squirts of lemon juice right on them for flavour.
They will need to steam for about 30 – 40 minutes and are cooked when a knife inserted into the base goes in easily.
Let these cool about before you dig in! To begin eating, take a leaf, put the bottom end in your mouth between your teeth and pull back retaining a little of the fleshy bit at the bottom. You will be left with most of the leaf and will have just scraped off the bottom. Continue all the way around working your way into the middle. When you reach the middle, you will have a center with a bunch of prickly hairs. Cut out all of these hairs from the centre and lightly trim along the bottom of the artichoke removing all leaves so that you are just left with the delicious choke.
If this all seems confusing, check out this pictorial.
For the dipping sauce, I just winged it and it was lovely.
Artichoke Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp of grainy mustard
This should be good for around two artichokes.