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Old 05-16-2011, 12:09 AM   #1
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Best way to cook and eat an artichoke?

I have never cooked or eaten a fresh artichoke. I have had canned hearts in a dip, but that's it. Hard to really tell what they taste like in a dip. I got 3 medium/small ones in my co-op basket this week.

What's the best way to cook these? I do have an electric pressure cooker to speed things up. I don't really know how these should be served either. I've been told you don't really eat the leaves, but suck out the insides? And I guess the whole inside you can eat.

Any recipes or serving ideas you have would be so appreciated. Thanks

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Old 05-16-2011, 01:11 AM   #2
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Actually you "skin" the meat off the bottom half of the leaves by pulling them between your teeth. You can use all the leaves till you get to the "choke" which is the small, fuzzy, prickly leaves towards the bottom just on top of the heart. You scrap the choke off the heart (which is the bottom of the artichoke) then you can eat the heart.

Stuffed (I will have to work up recipe if you are interested)

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Old 05-16-2011, 01:56 AM   #3
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First, a fresh steamed artichoke is NIGHT AND DAY a whole different thing than the typical jarred artichokes and the kind you see in salads. Those are nice too but nothing like this!

There are many cool things you can do with an artichoke but since it is so amazing even on its own I'd try simply just steaming one. It does take a little while... maybe about 40 minutes (an expert can correct me on that). You steam it until its soft.

Once it's done there are essentially two main things you do with it. Yes, sort of "suck" the leaves (but there's more to it than that) and then you clear the "hair" off of the heart and eat it - the best part!

Now, about those leaves... okay the bottom of the leaf has some fleshy thickness to it and you want to bite lightly with your teeth so you scrape that off into your mouth. Does that make sense? It's like the inside of the leaf has the soft edible part and the rest of the leaf is hard and you toss it away after you've scrape the good stuff off with your teeth. It's really good on its own but if you get bored because there ARE a lot of them then you can make a little sauce to dip it into. A TON of options there but even something simple like a garlic-mayo-olive oil sauce would be pretty darn good. Go Asian by adding some sesame oil and soy sauce or go cajun and put in some Old Bay... the taste of the artichoke can work with a lot of sauce flavors but the leaves are just the opening act for the main event which is that artichoke heart and it's so good it doesn't need a sauce (although great in sauce too but the bigger problem is that it'll be gone too fast and you'll want another one!).

So, once you're out of leaves or down to the small ones you discard those and clear the hair off the heart which is at the top of the stem. Then cut the stem up to the heart so you have just the heart. Eat the heart on its own or with a sauce! Really special thing that fresh steamed artichoke heart.

Once you know what it tastes like that way then all sorts of other things can be done such as fire roasting it or other things like the stuffed artichoke example (nice). One thing I made with it was an artichoke heart soup. It takes 6 large artichokes so it is not something anyone is likely to do often but I did it just to see and it was the food of royalty. Absolutely incredible. Maybe I'll make that again one day and snap a pic.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:16 AM   #4
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I, personally, nuke 'em. First trim them, then rub with a lemon half. Then place in a bowl with maybe a half inch of water, cover with plastic wrap, and nuke. I can't possibly tell you how long because microwave ovens vary so much in power, but until one leaf easily slips out. While it is setting, make a dip of your choice, I like mayo with touches of honey, mustard, lemon. Then take the leaves and dip and chew. When you get to the choke, take a paring knife and clean up the heart, and finish. Fun and good!
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:29 AM   #5
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I also microwave mine.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:46 AM   #6
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I steam mine about 40 minutes (50 minutes at high altitude). Add a clove of garlic, salt, lemon slice and a touch of olive to the water. Rub with lemon prior to steaming to prevent discoloration. When done, serve hot or cold with good mayonaise. (You dip the leaf bottom in the mayonaise before sliding through your teeth). The Italian method is similar but you trim the points off the leaves and dig out the fuzzy choke before steaming. Fill the center with bread crumbs, a drizzle of olive oil and grated parmeson cheeze. No need for a dipping sauce. Large artichokes are best for eating either of these ways.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:43 AM   #7
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Another microwaver--very quick. Good artichokes are hard to find here--they should be heavy, the leaves should be tight, and they should 'squeak' when you squeeze them. Some purple color is ok--it means they got a little frosted.

Be sure to clean them well--they can have grit down in the leaves. Cut any stem on the bottom off and cut the tip off (look at the stuffed 'choke picture above for how much to cut.) Open the 'choke up as a much as you can--spread the leaves apart. Some folks use a pair of scissors to cut the pointy tips off the leaves.

Fill a big bowl with water and dunk the 'choke up and down in the water. Since I microwave, I find that the water remaining in and on the choke is enough to cook them. Put them in a covered bowl in the microwave and cook til you can tug a leaf off.

The very bottom leaves may not be very meaty, but don't give up. :)
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmofet View Post
Actually you "skin" the meat off the bottom half of the leaves by pulling them between your teeth. You can use all the leaves till you get to the "choke" which is the small, fuzzy, prickly leaves towards the bottom just on top of the heart. You scrap the choke off the heart (which is the bottom of the artichoke) then you can eat the heart.

Stuffed (I will have to work up recipe if you are interested)

Ooh, that looks delicious, msmofet!

When I saw the thread title, my first thought was "STUFFED!"
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Ooh, that looks delicious, msmofet!

When I saw the thread title, my first thought was "STUFFED!"
Thank you June
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:44 AM   #10
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Lemon Butter.

I steam them with a little salt, pepper, a bay leaf and sometimes a little redwine vinegar in the water. Or just simply steam in plain water. Serve with crusty bread and LOTS of lemon butter for dipping.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:07 AM   #11
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How do you trim them to look that pretty? With scissors? With a chef's knife? I only tried cooking artichokes once and they were rather tough and hard to cut.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:40 AM   #12
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Cooking shears are way the easiest for trimming the bottom leaves. You cut the very top off (check the picture), with a big knife.

You might want to wait before making these, though, your track record with knives isn't so hot right now.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:43 AM   #13
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Two of our fav ways are either on the smoker or in a crawfish boil. Daughter can eat a whole one by her self by the time I get other things ready. She's a little turd.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:48 AM   #14
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Once trimmed and ready I like to steam em for 25 minutes or so then finish them over charcoal.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:41 PM   #15
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Thanks so much for all the ideas and taking the time to put in some details for me!

Is it easier to remove the choke before or after cooking? Also, I have a family of 5 and 3 artichokes. I will be halving them...should I do that before or after cooking?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnysmile View Post
Thanks so much for all the ideas and taking the time to put in some details for me!

Is it easier to remove the choke before or after cooking? Also, I have a family of 5 and 3 artichokes. I will be halving them...should I do that before or after cooking?

Thanks again!
I would cut them in half before cooking, but be sure to quickly rub the cut sides in lemon juice,as they will discolor really quickly. The choke could also be removed at this point. I use my sharp edged measuring tablespoon to do that.....it's safer than a knife. Enjoy!!
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
Cooking shears are way the easiest for trimming the bottom leaves. You cut the very top off (check the picture), with a big knife.

You might want to wait before making these, though, your track record with knives isn't so hot right now.


The finger is well enough that it has gone three days with no sticky plaster. It still tingles. It may tingle for a long time, which would have the benefit of reminding me not to be stupid with knives.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:27 PM   #18
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I steam them about 45 min to an hour.
then either dip the leaves in Garlic and oil, lemon garlic and oil, or good seasons italian dressing.

If I stuff them, ill stuff them with a stuffing made of tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, oil, parmesan cheese, onions, parsley, basil...

I love eating stuffed artichokes, but i hate making them.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:45 PM   #19
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You know, it probably isn't impressive to say this and I am not one to mention chain restaurants much but I have to say the Cheesecake Factory has a REALLY good fire roasted artichoke appetizer which is worth trying.

On the stuffed Artichoke thing, another way to go with it is cajun. You could steam or nuke it for a bit and then put bread crumbs, herbs, garlic and Old Bay spice in between the leaves and broil it in the oven until the bread crumbs look nicely browned and crispy.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:56 AM   #20
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I'm a steamer. I'll definitely try nuking them next time...
I'm impatient to get to the heart, which works for me anyway because I like to strip the leaves and refrigerate them for salads later. They make for handy and tasty scoops to help me fork flat salad greens, and the leaves' meat gets flavored by dressing in the process.
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