I go for the ultra simple method of cooking artichokes, basically simmering in water for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke.
There is a bit of prep work first.
- Trim the stem off the bottom of the artichoke, including just the barest bit of the bottom of the leaves.
- Trim about 1/2 to an 1 inch off the top of the leaves. I just pick a spot and saw straight down. Forget about cutting each leaf individually.
- Rub the cut parts of the artichoke with half a lemon so the cut parts don’t discolor while the water is coming to boil. I also just squeeze the rest of the half a lemon into the water coming to a boil, but I have two lemon trees and can afford to be generous with my lemons.
In the pot of water, add a clove or two of garlic, peeled.
When the water starts to boil, add the trimmed artichokes. They will generally settle on being bottom side down. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke. Poke the bottom with a dinner fork. Ideally, you want it to slide in easily but you don’t want the artichoke to fall apart as you poke it.
Drain the artichokes and leave them upside down. Squeeze the excess water out gently once they are cool enough to handle. I prefer mine at room temp or even cold so generally cook them during dinner the night before I want to eat them or early in the afternoon. I often cook up a batch and eat them throughout the week at lunch, as I’m doing right now.
I serve them with a bit of mayonnaise mixed with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. Dip the stem end of each leaf in the sauce and pull through your teeth. When you get down to the inner flower, there will be a bit of sharp pointy bit. Pull that out and discard, then use a knife to scrape away the fuzzy part from the heart. (This will make sense when you are looking at one!) Eat the heart. Mmmm.
Artichokes grow well around here in the SF Bay Area, but they tend to attract hordes of snails in my own yard.
Since writing this, I’ve gotten more adventurous with my artichokes! Check out this post for ideas on grilling artichokes as well as more detailed photos for trimming them.