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.