Artichokes are a great snack food that you don’t have to feel guilty about. They’re high in vitamin C and fiber, and they’re low in calories and fat, and have no cholesterol.
Paring an Artichoke
First wash the artichoke thoroughly, and then strip the artichoke of its tough outer leaves and cut off the stem. Cut off 1 inch from the top of the artichoke, and cut ½ inch from the tip of each leaf. Rub the cut parts with a lemon or place them in a bowl of lemon juice to prevent browning.
Removing the center
Separate the leaves of the artichoke and pull out the purple ones until you get to the prickly, inedible choke, and scoop it out with a spoon.
Cooking an Artichoke
Place artichokes upright in a pot with 3-4 inches of water with the juice of one lemon or vinegar. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-high and simmer the artichokes for 30-40 minutes or until tender (when the petals release easily from the artichoke). Then drain the artichokes upside down in a strainer for a few minutes.
Rinse artichokes and wrap each one, still damp, in plastic. Place each one upside down in a cup, and cook it on high power for 4 to 7 minutes for the first artichoke, adding 3 minutes for each additional one. Rotate the artichokes halfway through cooking. Let the wrapped artichokes stand for five minutes.
Thinly slice artichokes lengthwise, and place them in lemon water. Add slices to a heated skillet with oil, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring artichokes until golden
For a more intensely flavored artichoke, place a fitted steamer insert in a pot with 3 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and place the artichokes in steamer and cook covered for 30-40 minutes until tender.
Add Flavor to Artichokes
Once you’ve cooked the artichoke, fill the center and spread leaves with anything you like. Try rice, cheese with bread crumbs or herbs or veggie puree. If you want a roasted artichoke, preheat your oven to 450 degrees, fill artichoke with stuffing, and place it upright in a pan with some water and roast for about 40 minutes.
Serve your artichoke hot or cold and slice it lengthwise to serve with hollandaise, lemon butter or a ranch dressing. The choice is yours!
Artichokes are fun to eat. Place the petal in your mouth, curved side down and hold the end that was furthest away from the artichoke stem. Pull through your teeth, scraping off the tender part towards the base of the petal. Discard the rest.
Other Artichoke Options
There are a variety of canned, jarred and frozen artichokes ready-to-eat and can be used in such recipes as Cheese and Artichoke Fondue, “Healthified” Spinach Dip with Artichokes or Artichoke-Spinach Lasagna.