One medium artichoke has about 60 calories, zero fat and is loaded with vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients (which have anti-cancer properties).
We love them because they are fun to eat and after pulling off all the leaves, you are left with an extra treasure: the heart!
Fresh (as opposed to canned) is worth the cooking time.
How to Prep:
Trim the stem. You can cut it off if you want your choke to stand up on a plate later but save those stems because they are tasty.
Take a large knife and cut the top 1/3 of the artichoke leaves. Fan out the leaves a little bit so you can get some water in to wash them.
Use kitchen scissors to trim any little thorn on top of each leaf, if necessary.
How to Cook:
No matter how you cook them, artichokes are done when you are able to easily pull a leaf out.
Steaming: Turn upside down in steaming rack over boiling water. You can put some aromatics like thyme, white wine, etc into the water or in the steaming rack. Steam for at least 30-40 minutes.
Roasting: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut them into quarters or even sixths so they get done. When you get to the thorny inner part, go ahead and take out as shown below. Oil or spray a large oven safe dish.
Toss the artichokes lightly with olive oil and any seasonings you desire. Add a couple of tablespoons of white wine, lemon slices, thyme leaves-whatever you want for flavor. Be creative!
Cover with foil.
Bake for 30-40 minutes covered. Then uncover for about 20 minutes more until the chokes get a little crusty and brown.
Grilled: (Heaven.) You can steam or boil first to cut grilling time. Cut artichoke in half. Oil (to prevent sticking), salt, pepper. Place on grill until they get a little crispy. If you have not pre-cooked them and want to place directly on the grill–it will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes and you want to flip halfway.
For the purist:
- A little melted butter and lemon is perfect
- Flavored olive oil and sea salt.
For the more adventurous:
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise + ½ tsp. minced garlic + 1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise + 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme + 2 tsp. lemon juice
How to Eat:
Pluck off one of the leaves; dip the bottom into whatever sauce you are using (or nothing is ok too!).
Slide the ‘meaty’ party (the base) of the leaf in between your teeth-1/3 to 1/2 of the leaf can be scraped off.
When you get to the sharp prickly leaves inside, grab them by the top and pull off, revealing yellowish white fuzzy sharp things. Take your spoon and scoop that out from the base. Don’t scrape too deep or you’ll take away part of the edible heart.
What you should be left with is a beautiful green tiny ‘bowl’-the bottom of the choke.
And for a little bit of artichoke heaven, be sure to try this Spinach Artichoke Dip from Garden Fresh Foodie.