Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How To Prepare and Eat a Whole Artichoke

Artichokes were on super sale at Sprouts this past weekend, so I threw one into my cart without having any idea as to how I would prepare it.  
I decided to cook it up on Sunday evening to enjoy with some wine as a nice appetizer before dinner - one last relaxing evening before going back to the real world on Monday!

With a little help from the internet and Pinterest, I settled on a method that seemed doable and tasty.  The process was really simple, and the fresh artichoke tasted delicious.  I will definitely be buying more of them in the future!

I started prepping my artichoke by cutting off the whole stem so that the bottom was flat and I could stand it up.  I then sliced off a good 1-2 inches at the top.  Apparently some people also trim off the little thorns with kitchen scissors so that they don't get poked, but I skipped that step and just decided to be careful.  Once cooked, the thorns soften and don't really pose a threat, anyway.  

I rinsed off the artichoke, rubbed down the top with a slice of lemon, and squeezed a little extra juice in between the leaves.  I heard that this helps to preserve the green color (plus I just love lemon juice).  
Next, I filled a pot with about 2-3 inches of water and added in 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf, and the juice of half a lemon. I stood the artichoke up in the pot and put on the lid.  Then, I brought the water to a boil and simmered gently for 30 to 40 minutes, until the leaves pulled off easily.  
To eat the artichoke, just pull off the leaves one at a time and use your teeth to scrape off the soft part of the petal.  I made a dipping sauce out of some mayo, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and fresh ground pepper.  I didn't really measure but used roughly equal parts of the first three ingredients.  It was so good!  I've also heard of people dipping the leaves in butter, or an olive oil/vinegar combo would probably work well.  
Once all the petals have been removed, use a knife or spoon to scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the "choke").
The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the best part - the heart. You can cut it up like a little baby steak, dip it in your sauce, and eat.

I can't wait to make this again!  It was the perfect healthy appetizer.

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