Artichoke season is here! Spring and fall are when artichokes are in season. They can be an intimidating vegetable if you have never worked with them before, but honestly, it is hard to ruin one. An artichoke is an immature flower bud of the thistle plant, and they are generously forgiving when cooking them. They are delicious, high in fiber and nutrients, and a great meal on their own or as a side.
When choosing your artichokes, the denser and heavier the better, with leaves tight against the body, which are all signs of it being fresher and not dried out. You may see some more green and others with brown streaks, and that is fine – it is just varying pigment due to frost. You can prepare artichokes a multitude of ways, grilled, sautéed, even baked if they are baby artichokes, but I tend to prefer the fresh flavor of “steam-boiling” them, served with a light dipping sauce for accompaniment, as shared in the below recipe.
Prep. Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients to serve 4
- 4 Artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
- Pinch of Salt
You will need the ingredients for the dipping sauce(s) you choose!
Select a kettle or pot large enough to hold all the artichokes you are cooking. Fill it about 4-5” up with water. Cut your lemon in ½ and squeeze the juice into the water, dropping the squeezed halves right into the water to cook with the Artichokes. Add your olive oil and salt to the water and stir the mixture. Set it over high heat to boil. Meanwhile, trim the artichokes. Trimming* means to pull off any loose and little leaves too small to eat around the stem and base. The stem is edible and delicious – so trim the stem to clean but leave it intact or if extremely long, cut it and cook it with the rest of the artichokes to enjoy.
*Note: Many people cut the top of the leaves, or the entire top of the artichoke off. I do not. I believe the natural beauty of the tips also create a great handle when eating and allows you to enjoy more of the fleshy leaf.
OPTION: I Cut the artichokes in half, Top to bottom, splitting the stem in 2, to cook faster and because it displays better in the serving bowl. Another benefit is that it makes it easier for your guests to eat the entirety of this delicacy, including the heart and stem, not having to cut as much at the table
Rinse the artichokes and place the artichokes (whole or cut in half) base side down in the boiling water, lemon, and oil. Lower heat to simmer and weight the tops of the artichokes with a dish or pot lid that fits into the pot to keep the artichokes submerged. Simmer the artichokes until the base can easily be pierced with a knife point, 30-50 minutes, less if halved, more if whole. Remove the artichokes from the water and turn upside-down in a colander to drain.
To Serve: If cut in ½, remove the choke and internal hairs, leaving the meaty heart easily accessible. Place in a beautiful serving bowl and set another empty bowl for the eaten leaves and non-edible parts. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice
Suggested Dipping Sauces:
- Clarified Butter
- Garlic Aioli