I love me some artichokes. I realized today that I have mentioned this several times, but have not actually shown any solid proof of my love for this "exemplary vegetable"(to quote Pride and Prejudice). Therefore, this post is all about artichokes and my idea of how to cook and eat them. This is the simplest way, but in my opinion it is the absolute best! Please excuse the photo's in this post, as I took them awhile back with my iPhone, and they are…ahem…lacking. But you can still get the idea. ;)
- 1 Artichoke (I prefer the ones from Ocean Mist Farms, if you have access to these. They can usually be found at Costco)
- 3 tbs. of butter
- 1-2 tbs. of mayonnaise, to taste
- 1 dash of Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette. (I like to think of this as my secret ingredient…!)
- Large bowl for discarded leaves
- That's it!!
1. Take your artichoke and cut off the spiny tops of all the leaves, as they can prick you. Note that you do not HAVE to do this, but if you are serving them for guests, I like to. Once you have cut off the spiny tops, use a serrated knife to cut off the entire 1/2 - 1 inch or so of the top of the artichoke. (I think a serrated knife makes this easier.)
2. Boil in water for 35 minutes. I have cooked many an artichoke in my time, and I believe that this is the optimum amount of time! Once your artichoke is fully cooked, you can start making the dipping sauce. Melt the butter in a small bowl (I just use the microwave for maybe 30 seconds) and add the mayonnaise to the melted butter. Drizzle the french vinaigrette over the mayonnaise. You may choose to mix everything together, but I actually enjoy having the ingredients somewhat separate.
3. To eat the artichoke, gently pull off one of the outer leaves (it should come off very easily when the choke has been cooked), and dip the end of the leaf (the side that came from the choke) into the melted butter mixture. You should then scrape off the end of the leaf with your teeth. NOTE - You do not eat the whole artichoke leaf - just the portion you have scraped off with your teeth! Discard the rest of the leaf in your discard bowl.
Yumm! You should now be experiencing the euphoria in your mouth that comes from eating an artichoke! As you continue to pull off the leaves, you will see the choke getting smaller and smaller.
4. Eventually, you will get to the point where the leaves are just too small to eat. Go ahead and brush these small leaves off of the choke. You will be left with the artichoke heart, covered by the hairy thistle. Take a spoon, and gently scrape the thistle off of the heart - it should come right off. Discard the thistle in your discard bowl.
5. The last step is enjoying the best part of the artichoke - the heart! In fact, most recipes ONLY use the artichoke heart, so you can be proud of the fact that you have now eaten the entire vegetable. You know that they say - waste not, want not!
Congratulations - you now know how to cook and eat an artichoke! If you haven't experienced one before (yes, I think of them as an experience), now is your chance! Try something new, and please tell me what you thought! I promise I will not be offended if you absolutely hate them. Experiment with dipping sauces to find what you like - some people only like melted butter, others prefer hollandaise sauce. It's up to you!
Ocean Mist Farms even offers an Artichokes Aficionados Club with a drawing for free artichokes every week - if you have fallen in love with them as much as I have, feel free to join. :)