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There's more than one way to cook an artichoke

March 31, 2004

The basic steps for preparing artichokes to eat include:

1. Wash artichoke under cold running water.

2. Pull off lower petals that are small or discolored.

3. Cut stem close to base. (Trimmed artichoke stems are edible. Cut off brown end. Peel fibrous outer layer to reach tender green of stem. Stem may be steamed whole with the artichoke, or cut into rounds or julienne strips for salads or pastas.)

4. Cut off top quarter and tips of petals, if desired.

5. Plunge into acidified water - 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice per quart of water - to preserve color.

To stuff an uncooked artichoke with rice or couscous or other mixtures, follow steps 1 to 5 and:

  • Give cut side a rap on the counter top. Gently spread petals until central cone is reached.

  • Pull out central purple or thorny center leaves.

  • With a spoon, scrape out any remaining purple and fuzz.

  • Stuff center and outer petals with mixture prior to cooking.

    Artichokes can be boiled, steamed or cooked in the microwave.

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  • To boil: Stand prepared artichoke in deep saucepan or pot with 3 inches boiling water. Add oil, lemon juice and seasonings to cooking water, if desired. Cover and boil gently 25 to 40 minutes, or until a petal near the center pulls out easily. Stand artichoke upside down on a rack to drain.

  • To steam: Place prepared artichoke on a rack above an inch or two of boiling water. Cover and steam 25 to 45 minutes, or until a petal near the center pulls out easily.

  • To microwave: Set one medium-sized prepared artichoke upside down in a small glass bowl with 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon each lemon juice and oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high 6 to 7 minutes. Let stand covered 5 minutes after cooking.


- Source: California Artichoke Advisory Board at www.artichokes.org on the Web.

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