How to Cook an Artichoke

We just love artichokes, and have been cooking them for years.  Here is how:

[ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
  • 1 Artichoke.  Pick the best Artichoke you can.  It should be nice, firm and green, with few brown areas on the leaves.  I prefer the ones that are slightly open at the top.  Although Artichokes are in season in the Monterrey Bay area of California in the Spring, it seems like you can find good Artichokes most any time of year.
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Salt for the water over which you are going to steam the Artichoke.
  • Italian Seasoning (A blend Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary and Sage), although you can just use some dried Oregano or Basil if you don’t have the Italian Seasoning.
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter + 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt.
[/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
  1. Get your pot ready to steam the Artichoke.  You should use a large soup pot, put 1 inch of water and the 1 1/2 Tablespoon Salt in the bottom of the pot and place a vegetable steamer (to hold the Artichoke above the water) in the pot.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the Artichoke.
  2. Cut about 1 inch off the top of the Artichoke.  This can be done with a good sharp serrated knife.  It is hard with just about any other knife.  Also cut the stem of the Artichoke off the bottom, to about 1/4 inch from the base of the Artichoke.
  3. Rinse the Artichoke thoroughly under cold water and shake the Artichoke over the sink to remove the water and any dirt that may be in the Artichoke.
  4. Sprinkle the Italian Seasoning generously over open end of the Artichoke.
  5. When the water in the pot has come to a boil, place the Artichoke in the pot, replace the top and steam the artichoke for 45 minutes.  Keep an eye on the pot so that it doesn’t go bonkers from too high heat or too low so it is not steaming the Artichoke.
  6. After 45 minutes turn off the heat, but let the Artichoke sit in the pot, with the top on for an extra 15 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, place the Butter and Garlic Salt into a microwave safe cup or ramekin and seat until the butter is fully melted.  Some people prefer to eat their Artichokes with Mayonnaise, but I like the butter.
  8. Place the Artichoke on a plate, bring a bowl for the discarded leaves and serve with the Butter.
[/directions]

Okay, so now you want to know how to eat the Artichoke, right?  I usually discard a row or two of the outermost leaves.  Then you simply take a leaf, dip the meaty end that was attached to the base in the Garlic Butter, then place that meaty end in your mouth and scrape the teeny amount of edible vegetable off with your teeth.  You don’t want to eat the tough leaf.  As you get in towards the center of the Artichoke you start getting more to eat off each leaf, until the leaves get so small that it isn’t worth it any more.  At that point you want to take a knife and cut the reainder of the leaves off the base – the Heart – of the artichoke.  be sure to get rid of all the spikes little chokes that are in the center of the leaves.  You can then eat the entire Heart, cutting it up and dipping each big, meaty piece in the Garlic Garlic.  There you go.

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