If you’re intimidated by what to do with the thistlelike artichoke, then you may not be alone. After all, it is a complicated looking vegetable with its cluster of thick leaves that you need to figure out. To tell the truth, I was never sure how to prep an artichoke the right way and probably wasted more of it than I needed to. Fortunately, I finally learned the proper technique from my friend that I wanted to pass along to you. Trust me, but it was what finally got me to appreciate this vegetable more for its deliciousness.
One thing that was always disgusting to me was how easily a fresh artichoke would discolor brown once slicing into it. What helps is rubbing some lemon juice over where you cut it or filling a mixing bowl with a few tablespoons to about three or four cups of water for a quick soaking. Using a fresh lemon is preferred, but I have used bottled lemon juice with the same good results. With that said, I now like to start having that lemon juice and water bath ready before working on the dissection of my articoke.
Regardless of how you are intending to prepare your artichoke, you need to trim it first. Remove any of the tough outer leaves or the ones that are showing some brown color. You’ll find that process is easier if you use a knife with a serrated (wavy) blade over a regular one.
Next, cut off about one inch at the top of the artichoke. You also may want to pull out your kitchen shearers to smooth out any thorny edges on the leaves as well as the brown end of the artichoke’s stem.
You can bake, steam, stuff, or grill your artichokes. I just take out steamer basket and place the artichokes in about two inches of water with some lemon juice in my covered large pot. I cook this on the stove top for about 25-30 minutes. Usually, I just serve them with some melted butter or a hollandaise sauce.
After the artichoke is cooked, remove the leaves starting from the bottom and work toward the center.
To select the best artichokes, you should look for ones that have some weight to them with closed leaves. These are signs that indicate freshness.