Let’s face it: artichokes are quite intimidating. You can barely find them in the supermarket, and when available, you’d rather hesitate buying them. And the reason for this? You are simply too scared to screw up the preparation, needless to say that you have no clue what to do with them, right?
To be frank, also team GRIM has never cooked with artichokes before, but now that we have them in one of our boxes in August, we gotta get to the bottom — or the heart — of that delicious, mysterious flower.
Artichoke is a flower
You’ve heard right: Just like broccoli, cauliflower and capers, the beautiful yet alien-looking artichoke is in fact a flower from the thistle family. No wonder where the spikiness comes from!
How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance
To get to the meaty, deliciously soft and tender heart of the artichoke, quite a transformation needs to take place. But don’t get discouraged! It seems harder than it is. Once you’ve got the drill, it’s a repetitive thing the following times. Done once, learned for life, so to speak.
We’ve put together a VERY simple step-by-step guide on how to prep an artichoke:
Step 1) Slice off a couple of centimetres off the top.
Step 2) Remove the small leaves at the base.
Step 3) Peel the stem using a vegetable peeler.
Step 4) Cut off a few centimetres off the stem
Step 5) Cut off the tips of the leaves.
Step 6) Rinse in cold water and spread leaves.
Step 7) Use half a lemon and the open cuts of the artichoke. This prevents the flower to go brown.
PS: Quick browning is typical for foods with high antioxidant level — lemon juice helps in most cases :)
Step 8) In a medium sized pot, bring a few centimetres of water to boil. Add pepper corns, a slice of lemon and 2 garlic cloves for flavouring the water.
Step 9) When water is boiling, insert steaming basket and place artichokes inside pot. Close the lid and steam for 20–25 minutes.
Step 10) Remove artichokes from the pot when they are cooked. You can check that if the outer leaves can be easily pulled off.
How to eat an artichok
Step 11) Now, make a dip! Hummus goes well with artichokes, or you can simply stir up some mayo and a few splashes of balsamico. Let your taste guide you!
Step 12) Pull off an outer leaf and dip in. Place leaf in your mouth dip side down and scrape off the tender flesh with your teeth right at the spot where you pulled off the leaves.
Step 13) Repeat this until you reach the heart of the artichoke with its fuzzy top.
Step 14) Scrape off the fuzzy top to find the soft heart — the little hair doesn’t taste well and you might choke on them ;)