Globe Artichokes are one of those vegetables that have a bit of an awe surrounding them. A seemingly exotic addition to the kitchen garden, with a mysterious preparation, you might be surprised that they are both easy to grow and cook, and well worth the trouble. Here is just one way to cook them, which takes 15-20 minutes and makes a great addition to a platter plate. I have read that the whole artichoke can be meticulously consumed, while discarding the tough, inedible bits as one goes. Although, it feels wasteful, I, and many others like to discard all but the tenderest parts, leaving the rest to go in to the garden as compost.
Artichokes will oxidise as they are being prepared. This does not bother me, it does not affect the taste and I do not take any measures to prevent it. Others use lemon juice during preparation and cooking to minimise browning, I have not described this in my tutorial.
The Mysteries of the Heart
- Am I going to go all mills and boon on you now? No. What we are going to want to do though, is get the the heart of the Artichoke. To do this, pick some flowers from your garden, crack open a nice bottle of wine, and don’t worry, artichokes do not have eyes, so, they don’t care if you are not looking your best. They are however, quite fond of Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.
- Alternatively, while you try to stop singing that song in your head, take the whole artichoke, and start pulling off the hard, dark green “leaves”, layer by layer. You are eventually going to get to the tender light green/yellow heart of the Artichoke. You will know when you are there. If you have hit fluff, you are moving too quickly, and might have ruined your chances.
- Now, cut the stem off, right at the base, and then, cut the top off, just below the ridge the naturally runs through the centre of the heart.
- Keeping the bit with the green tick, position it on its base, and cut it into quarters.
- You are going to notice that it is all fluffy inside, at this point, you are going to want to run your knife along where the the fluff (or choke) meets the base of the artichoke, then, as you reach the yellow leaves, flick the knife up, to remove all the fluff. You will get the idea when you do it.
- That is it with the dissecting. I personally chop them up a bit smaller, and my cooking times probably reflect that, so, let’s pretend that you have chopped yours up a bit smaller, for your 1st try.
Now the Cooking
- Place your chopped up Artichoke in a bowl, with a couple of centimeters (an inch) of water, and place a plate on top of the bowl. I microwave everything on high, so, microwave on high for a few minutes, I do 3 minutes, but my microwave is not overly powerful. It is not a science, and they can probably not be particularly over or under done with 3-4 mins on high.
- Strain the water. Your Artichokes can be eaten now as is, or added to another dish (we did pasta recently), or, you can read on for a great little recipe.
- To your bowl of steamed/boiled Artichokes, and, note the precise measurements, add the following:
- a good drizzle of olive oil
- A few roughly chopped cloves of garlic
- a good splash of Worcestershire sauce
- a good sprinkling of smoked paprika
- A sprinkling of chilli flakes
- Stir it all through, pour it out on a pan. Place under the grill on medium to high, stirring the mixture around periodically, remove when you know… brownish.
- Begin picking at your creation right away, serve what is remaining to friends and family.