An artichoke is a mystery. It looks like some sort of Audrey type plant, from Little Shop of Horrors. Sometimes I never know if one day it might open up and just start talking or take a snap at me? Although intimidating, it’s one of the easiest vegetables with complex layers to cook. There are many different methods of cooking as well. For now, we will simply dive into the easiest method of all……
…..boiling an artichoke.
This weekend presented some heartfelt moments for me. One thing on my life’s bucket list has been to ‘watch a favorite broadway star live.’ I was able to watch Ramin Karimloo perform Friday night. He’s my favorite because he belts like a champion. We are talking Andre Buccelli belt…..no joke. Absolutely breathtaking. I was emotionally drained. It was amazing and and I will never forget.
Thinking nothing could top that, it did. My face swelled and tears flowed as I watched Peyton Manning say goodby to the game after 18 years. I’m not kidding. It was the best speech I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched it over and over again already. I cried like a baby, and continue to.
I decided making an artichoke would be best over the weekend. I needed to anyhow, as the heart of the artichoke was used for a dish I’m posting this week! I rarely cook artichokes, just as I rarely witness such perfection in performers. So, it seemed fitting.
Artichokes are crazy complicated and extremely interesting. When I first came across a ‘bulb’ artichoke I thought it was a rough head of lettuce. I could cut it up and just eat it, right? Like in a salad? I’m glad I never did such a thing. I would have destroyed my tastebuds for life.
Artichokes are very beautiful and have many layers. There are the petals, on the outside. These petals look soft and beautiful. The tips then prick your finger. You think you’re dealing with some sort of toxic plant staring back at you. Remember, Suddenly Seymour?
As you peel those layers off, you’ll find there is a whole new world that lives inside this vegetable. Whites and purples and fur…..I always think of a jellyfish. Honestly, the inside of an artichoke reminds me of a jellyfish. Brings me back to the Florida beaches.
These plants are actually quite fascinating. They’re also extremely healthy. What’s incredible is that the artichoke lies in the family of thistles. It uses a complicated outer layer to protect itself. Then the inner layer is still difficult to reach. But once you reach the center where the heart exists, you’ve struck gold. It’s the tastiest, most delectable part of this vegetable.
I prefer boiling my artichokes. It’s the traditional way of cooking them. Many restaurants still prefer this method of cooking. You will find a tremendous amount of alternative ways to cook an artichoke, all of which are fabulous. The heart is where it’s at for me. So, I’m keeping this recipe simple.
Save the parts because you can use them for different things. The petals can be used with an appetizer, and the stem has a wonderful taste in areas. I like dissecting it all and getting to the center, where the best flavor exists.
So, if you’ve never cooked an artichoke…..try this way first. It’s the easiest, and one of the tastiest. You can learn about the vegetable more using this method, if it’s your first time cooking an artichoke.
I will go to bed knowing that a favorite broadway/bluegrass singer, a favorite football player, and a favorite vegetable were all witnessed in one short weekend. It was wonderful. And so is this dish.
How To Cook An Artichoke
The easiest and best way to cook an artichoke.
- 1 bulb artichokes
- Kosher salt
Bring a large pot with water to a boil.
Add hefty pinches of kosher salt to water.
While water boils, rinse artichokes thoroughly.
Carefully peel outer petals growing out near stem and discard.
With kitchen scissors, snip off sharp edges of all petals on artichoke.
When finished, take a knife and cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke head.
Drop artichoke into boiling water, cover and cook for 30 - 45 minutes.
*Put glass lid of Corningware in pot on top of artichoke, to submerge.
Artichoke will be done when a knife slides easily into stem.
Cool artichoke slightly, then peel off all outer petals and cut off stem.
Save petals and stem if desired.
Carefully remove the sharp-tipped inner leaves (they're purple colored).
Carefully scrape and remove choke (have 'cilia' like hairs).
The heart is what is left. Drop in lemon water if waiting to eat to prevent discoloration.
If ready to eat, serve with melted butter and use a knife and fork.