How to cook easy and quick artichokes with boiling and steaming method

Have you ever cook or eat artichokes? It’s delicious, fun to eat, and high in antioxidants. Some artichokes recipes call for baking, boiling or steaming.

cooking artichokesHowever just before we start directly into cooking artichokes, let’s get a little background on the artichokes itself. Much like broccoli, cauliflower and capers, artichokes are actually flowers! Specifically, the artichoke is the flower bud of a plant in the thistle family. It is thought to have originated along the Mediterranean, and it’s been a part of the cuisine of that region for over a thousand years!

Artichokes are high in phenolic compounds, what give them their antioxidant power and contribute to rapid enzymatic browning when cut surfaces are exposed to air.To stop this reaction, I rubbed a half lemon over the exposed areas to keep them from browning too quickly. If you prefer your artichoke lemon-free, a good rinse with water will slow the browning too, albeit a bit less effectively than lemon.

Most of these are amounts to make a single artichoke, so changing this recipe to any number of artichokes is easy. I suggest cooking two at a time because this recipe calls for half a lemon and half a head of garlic. With the leftovers from making one, you can easily make a second, assuming you have 20 or so leaves of basil on hand. Now let’s get cooking!

How to buy and select fresh artichokes?

One medium to large artichoke will yield approximately 2 ounces of edible flesh. If the artichoke feels heavy for its size and squeaks when squeezed, you have found a fresh artichoke.

Pick artichoke globes which are deep green, with a tight leaf formation, and those that feel heavy for their size. A good test of freshness is to press the leaves against each other which should make a squeaking sound. Browning of the tips can show age, but can also show frost damage.

Avoid artichokes which are wilting, drying or have mold. Storing Artichokes: To store fresh artichokes at home, sprinkle them with a little water and refrigerate in an airtight plastic bag. Do no wash before storing. They should last a week when stored properly.

Ingredients of cooking artichokes:

  • 1 medium-sized artichoke
  • a half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to cook artichokes with boiling method?

1. If the artichokes come with small thorns on the end of the leaves, just take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is commonly for beauty as the thorns soften with cooking and cause simply no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

2. Cut about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems usually tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. On the other hand you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.

5. Wash the artichokes in running cold water.

6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to cook artichokes with steaming method?

To cook artichokes, you can use Microwave Steaming and Stove-Top Steaming. Steaming artichokes in the microwave is much quicker and easier, of course. The quite drier nature of the method, however, requires the very freshest of chokes to avoid a tough texture.

  1. Place trimmed artichokes in a microwave-proof plate. Put in 1/4 inch of water to the dish and cover with a microwave-proof lid.
  2. Microwave on High for 4 minutes. Check for done-ness (see above). If they’re not done, continue microwaving for a minute at a time until done.

Stove-Top Steaming: The true boiling water and moisture taken by steaming artichokes on the stove-top more than makes up for the extra time it takes, in my opinion.

  1. Get about 1/2 inch water to a boil in a pan deep enough to hold the artichoke(s) standing up.
  2. Add a teaspoon or two of salt (the artichoke will just be sitting it in, not submerged).
  3. Put artichokes in the salted boiling water, cover the pan, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook 20 minutes.
  4. Check for done-ness, pull a leaf from close to the center of the leaves. If the leaf comes out easily, the artichokes are done; if there is resistance, continue cooking, checking for done-ness every 5 minutes. Depending on artichoke size, this can take a total of 40 minutes

How to Eat an Artichoke?

Artichokes could be consumed cool or even hot, however I do believe these are generally much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonaise. My preferred dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

2. Drop white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Firmly grasp the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

Continue until all of the petals are removed.

3. Using a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat. My favorite artichoke dipping sauce? Some mayonnaise with a little balsamic vinegar stirred in. Others like dipping artichoke leaves and heart into melted butter.

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