Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to Artichoke



Tango and Donna commented that they’ve never had an artichoke. I’m sure there are a lot of readers out there that never comment that are in the same boat. Artichokes are one of those foods that most people that haven’t had them before look at and wonder “What the hell do you do with that?”

Artichokes are really big thistle flower buds. Their prickly characteristics are easily dealt with. Here’s what to do with them and how to eat them. I hope everyone tries one.

First choose one that feels heavier than the others at the market. The better ones will be more closed than open. When you get ready to cook it, with a knife cut the top inch off the artichoke, cut the stem as well. With a pair of scissors, cut the pointy ends off the outer leaves. Rinse the artichoke; this will infuse more moisture.

You can steam it covered pot for 20 minutes. You can also microwave it by adding two tablespoons of water to a microwave safe bowl with a cover and heat on high for 8 minutes and let stand for a few more minutes. While this is going on it is time to melt your butter or spoon out your mayo into a small bowl.

Special note to Darev, OK, I'll accept that some like mayo, but your suggestion of using Ranch is disgusting. We are talking about the king of the thistles here, not some greasy fried potato one gets from the Qwiki Mart on the way home from work. This is a delicacy, not a freakin JoJo.

To eat the artichoke, you don't actually eat the leaves, peal a leaf off the bud and dunk the part that was attached into your sauce. You put the end of the leaf that was attached to the plant into your mouth and scrape it against your teeth. What you get is a peeling of a waxy substance which is heavenly. There is more meat on the leaves the further you get into the plant. The outer two layer of leaves may even be somewhat disappointing.

Eventually you will get to a point where the leaves are very soft and tender and they are covering the core of the artichoke. Some of these leaves may be eaten entirely. They look lie the bottom left photo in the photo above. But, what they are covering is what would have become the thistle down.

With a knife or a fork, scrape away the hairy fibers and beneath that you will find the artichoke heart, the bottom row, right photo above. This is what you've been working toward the whole time. Cut up the heart and dip each morsel into your sauce and enjoy. The texture is like a cross between a mushroom and an avocado.

Artichokes are seasonal, and every bit a reason to revel as one would with their first tomato or their first watermelon of the season. And yes, you can grow artichokes in Oregon.

17 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

This sounds like a lot of work for a fussy eater and a lazy cook but I might just give it a try simply because you went to all the trouble of posting about it.

Who’d have thought Guy would ever get into the realm of cooking/recipe blogs?

5:14 AM  
Blogger Tango said...

LOL...thanks for the instructions. I had no idea. I'll let you know when I try it.
Ha, I can see me now, sitting in a restaurant with my laptop....just kidding :)

5:14 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

now you are making me hungry for artichokes and it's not even yet
6am!! Haven't had one in awhile, the Boy doesn't like them as much as I do, and MIL can't have butter anymore.

And we do have artichokes in OR. Near Beaver, in fact.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Nulaanne said...

I love a good artichoke steamed is my preferance and yes ranch dressing just sounds nasty with one.

5:52 AM  
Blogger a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

yuuuuuuummy!

and?

you said "hairy fibers". food porn.

6:00 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Ok Ok.... so the ranch was a bad idea... sheesh! I forget how fussy you "foodie" types are. Boy, just TRY to get people to open up to new things around here..... (mutter mutter)

7:00 AM  
Blogger Tango said...

I guess this wouldn't be a good time to bring up Lebanon Bologna with Maple Syrup sandwiches?
Darev....I put Ranch on just about everything. Except on French Fries...they need Mayo. :)

8:29 AM  
Blogger richpix said...

If you go to the Flickr page from where the Guy stole one of the pictures you can see a few more details in the larger version:
Lavendergal's copyrighted artichoke photograph

8:57 AM  
Blogger ... said...

i hate artichokes.
yuck.

but preserved artichoke hearts?
yum!

11:41 AM  
Blogger weese said...

butter? mayo?? ranch???
eesh... people people.
an italian artichoke is 'stuffed'
briefly
you make a dry mixture of italian bread crumbs (you can use the prepared..but much better to make your own with old crusty bread)
grated cheeses(parmesian regianno and romano are nice)
some salt pepper.. you can use garlic power (or add fresh garlic after).
smoosh the artichoke on the counter to open it a bit...then put the mixture in. letting it fall deep into the leaves. drizzle ex.virg. olive oil over the top..then steam as you say.
no dunking...
just enjoy.

11:48 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, I am all things to everyone. Welcome back.

Tango, I doubt you get them in a restaurant.

Auntie, I knew it would take two artichoke posts to get you.

Nulaanne, thanks for your vote against ranch.

Irish, it goes well with your S&M post.

Darev, ranch is not something new. Maybe it would be a welcome addition to confinement loaf, but not on an artichoke.

Tango, What? Are you turning into Elvis or something?

..., you are missing the ritual.

Rich, I stole nothing, I simply copied data from one part of the internet to another. The owner still has possession of the said data. Besides, are you sure that the person you credited didn't lift it from somewhere else? Do you come here for the entertainment or just to be a copy right cop? Relax, dude. This stuff won't make any difference in ten minutes. This post will scroll off never to be looked at again.

Weese, I think this is the first time you ever spanked me. It kinda feels good ; )

4:25 PM  
Blogger Tango said...

Elvis??? 'splain, will ya?

6:56 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Elvis ate crap like fried balogna, peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Tango said...

lol, yep, that'll be me then. :) ....minus the talent and the weight.

2:42 AM  
Blogger weese said...

only as an italian mother can spank.
with a wooden spoon. shortly followed by a spoonfull of honey.
:)

6:32 AM  
Blogger dalia said...

... was me! i dunno why my name didn't appear.

the first time i tried arty's chokes, the ritual seemed an awful lot of fuss for such little final product.

but i stand by preserved articoke hearts. on pizza. with pesto.

yum!

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Leaves of Artichoke said...

I find artichoke very tasty. It is good for health. It is rich in iodine. It reduces cholesterol and improves blood circulation, it is also helpful for diabetic people and is great for liver. It is also good for hair and is excellent treatment for eczema.

11:50 PM  

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