I have loved artichokes since the first time they were served to me which if I remember correctly was like in the late 1970s by my friend Larry.
Artichokes are a bit of a production or put another way of putting it, a huge pain in the butt for the little bit of actual food you get out of the sucker. Having said all that I love cooking serving and eating artichokes but it is a big if a production if you do it right. There are three parts to the thang!
1-2 Large Artichoke (provides nibbles for about 4 people)
Dipping Sauce of your liking
1. Add about 1-.15 inches of water to a pasta pan and place on a burner at medium high heat.
With either your chicken shears or a pair of scissors, snip off all of the little pointed tips of each life on the artichoke.
2. With those nasty little tips gone you can wash the artichoke thoroughly allow warm matter to flow down between the leaves
3. Cut off the stem as close to the body as possible and discard.
Place the de-weaponized, cleaned, and de-stemmed artichoke into the pan. If it floats take some water out.
Now would be a good time to make your dipping sauces. It it is cool to have 2 or 3 small dishes of dipping sauce available for when the artichoke is ready to be plucked. These sauces can be made or purchased. The ones I use the most are Mayo (with or without a small amount of Balsamic Vinegar), Thai Chili Sauce and/or my personal favorite – Red Shell Japanese Miso Dressing (available in the veggie sections of most of the major markets and Costco even sells a two pack of the 32oz size.). As I said there is not much to an artichoke so perhaps 3 small dishes of 1.5 – 2 oz of each should be plenty.
4. After about 5 minutes of steaming start checking the artichoke for doneness. This is done by taking your kitchen tongs and trying to pluck a leaf off the artichoke. It is done when the leaf comes free relatively easily.
5. Serve on a plate with a bowl to discard the leaves after they have been scraped of their dap of edible leaf jam that has been dipped in sauce.
6. At some point, all too soon in fact, the once hard dark green bundle of leaves will be reduced to a flattened cup shape with grey purple wannabe leaves overing the top of the cup. Take that piece and scrape all of the wannabe leaves not worth messing with and the furry inedible fuzz call the Choke off the very bottom or the heart of the artichoke. Cut the heart into small pieces and dip in the remaining sauce.
Its all good, unless you go crazy on the sauces, eating Artichoke is not to fattening or filling so your will be able to eat the main course heading your way after your artichoke adventure.