April 21, 2022
How to Cook, Eat and Serve Artichokes
The first sign of Spring for me in Minnesota is the artichokes coming from California. This usually means 6 more weeks until Spring. The artichokes are my groundhog and much more reliable than Puckatanny Phil.
The artichoke is actually the bud of a thistle—a flower. The leaves cover a fuzzy center called the “choke”, which sits on top of a meaty core, called the “heart” that takes some work to get to for eating. The heart is completely edible and delicious, but the fuzzy choke is too fibrous to eat. The leaves of the artichoke are tough, and you have to scrape them with your teeth to eat the tender parts.
When buying artichokes at the store plan on 1 per person. Choose artichokes that feel heavy whose leaves are tight and not flayed open. Look for signs of dryness and avoid those artichokes. Fresh artichoke leaves squeak.
To prepare artichokes for cooking you cut about 1 inch off the top of the globe. Each leaf has a prickly thorn point – cut those off. Cut the base of the artichoke off so it sits flat in your pot. Now your artichoke is ready to cook. Artichokes can be boiled, steamed, or in my opinion, the best way to cook them is the Instant Pot here is how I do it.
Whole artichokes with homemade aioli is a first sign of Spring Serve with homemade aioli
Instant Pot Artichokes
and a Bay leaf if you have it in the pot.
to the Sealing position
Whole artichokes with homemade aioli is a first sign of Spring
Serve with homemade aioli
Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonnaise. My favorite dip is a homemade aioli mayo
This Lemon Aioli makes a simple steamed artichoke delicious
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic grated on a Microplane grater
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a small food processor cup using an immersion blender whisk together yolks, lemon juice and zest, and mustard. Pulse, scraping down the sides until it becomes a pale yellow paste.
- While the immersion blender is on, very slowly pour the oil into the yolk mixture. It should start to thicken and combine
- When fully combined, add the garlic and salt, giving a few more quick pulses
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to let flavors combine
This recipe is delicious with steamed artichokes
Pull off the outer leaves and dip the white fleshy part into the sauce. Put it into your mouth and pull the leaf upside down scraping the flesh with your teeth to remove soft, fleshy parts of the leaf. Continue until all of the petals are removed.
When you get to the tender inner leaves with the purple tips, you can remove them all at once. Dip and eat just the light-colored parts of these leaves.
Scrape out the choke
With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. When you have removed the choke cut the heart into 4 pieces, dip it into your remaining sauce, and eat.