The artichoke is a green vegetable with a fresh flavor that is harvested in the spring. It is the flower of a species of edible thistle of which many varieties are cultivated all over the world. Artichoke is common in many European dishes. You might think that this vegetable is difficult to cook because of its spiky or prickly appearance, but in reality, it is quite simple to prepare. With a little time and effort, you can easily enjoy delicious artichokes without much difficulty.
Part 1 of 3: prepare the artichokes
Step 1. Rinse the artichokes
Rinse them with cold water. Do this just before cooking them, not before storing them. If you get them wet before storing, they may spoil more quickly.
You can refrigerate fresh, un-rinsed artichokes in a plastic bag for up to a week. Watch them. If their leaves start to pull apart, cook them immediately
Step 2. Remove the rods
Use a very sharp knife to cut off the stem of each artichoke at the base of the head, or leave most of the stem, but cut off the end.
- If you don't have a sharp enough knife, use a serrated knife.
- Since artichoke stems are edible, you can leave them by simply cutting off their ends and cooking them to eat with the heads.
Step 3. Cut off the tips
Remove a 2 to 3 cm layer at the top of each artichoke by cutting the vegetables horizontally. Don't cut a layer too thick, as you risk removing some of the best edible parts.
Rub a wedge of lemon against all cut sides at the top and bottom of the artichokes to prevent them from turning brown
Step 4. Prune the outer leaves
Use sharp kitchen scissors to cut off the tip of each outer sheet by about 1 cm. Remove only the pointed ends at the top of these leaves.
After removing these tips, rub the cut edge of each leaf with lemon
Part 2 of 3: cook the artichokes
Step 1. Boil some water
Half fill a large pot with water and add a generous amount of salt. Heat the pot over high heat on the stove and bring the water to a boil.
- Heating the water over high heat will bring it to a boil more quickly.
- The salt helps bring out the taste of the artichokes while they cook in the water.
Step 2. Add the artichokes
Immerse them in boiling water in the saucepan and wait for the resumption of boiling.
When you put the artichokes in the water, the temperature will drop and the boiling will slow down. Wait for the boil to resume completely
Step 3. Lower the heat
When boiling resumes, lower the heat so that the water is simmering. Put a lid on the pan and cook the artichokes for 20 to 30 minutes. If you have cut the stems entirely, you will need to use something to keep the buds under water in the pot.
To keep the artichokes underwater, insert a small lid or plate inside the pot. This way the buds will remain completely submerged and will cook properly
Step 4. Check doneness
The artichokes are ready when you can easily pluck a leaf from the center. Use a fork or the tip of a knife to remove one of these central leaves.
- Be careful when checking the doneness of artichokes, as the hot water they are in can burn you.
- You can also stick the tip of a knife into the bottom of the artichokes to see if they are tender.
Step 5. Drain the artichokes
Take them out of the cooking water, put them in a colander to drain them and then place them on a plate to serve them.
- Season them however you like. Tear off the leaves one by one or cut the core of each artichoke with a knife.
- Serve the artichoke leaves and hearts with melted butter or a savory sauce.
Part 3 of 3: Choosing artichokes
Step 1. Wait for the right time
Artichokes are in season in the spring. The best time to eat them is from March to May, it is during these three months that you will find the freshest and tastiest artichokes.
- Examine the color of the vegetables. A fresh artichoke should have a nice dark green color.
- If there are a few small brown spots, that's okay, but the artichoke should look fresh and green overall.
Step 2. Look at the leaves
A good artichoke has very green, tight leaves. If they are loose and spread and / or dry, the vegetable is not as good anymore.
Press the leaves together. If the artichoke is fresh, they should make a little squeak
Step 3. Take the weight into account
Take an artichoke in your hand. It should be nice round and slightly heavier than it looks.