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Artichokes - Easy Preparation to Overcome Their Defensive Nature

Updated on April 14, 2015

Artichokes - Easy Preparation to Overcome Their Defensive Nature

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Defenseless Artichokes Being Infused with Flavor

Defenseless Artichokes Being Infused with Flavor
Defenseless Artichokes Being Infused with Flavor | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: Serves 1 or more, depending on if you share


  • 3 Artichokes, Rendered Defenseless
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves, Whole
  • 2-4 Lemons, Quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 6-8 Bay Leaves, Whole

Defensive, yet Delicious

I remember the first time I bough a couple of artichokes from a local produce Co-op. I hadn't intended to buy them. I had always considered artichokes to be somewhat above my culinary skills and had avoided buying them. Apparently, my purchase of a box of random fruits and vegetables, while a good buy, had rendered a few unexpected items that had to be identified and investigated before eaten. I at least knew what the artichokes were, unlike some of the future items I ventured upon. As I reached into the box to pull them out, a sharp poke caused my finger to start bleeding. "This is going to be fun," I thought to myself. After carefully extracting them from among the the rest of the produce and setting them on the counter, I just kind of stood there starting at them. All they did was stare back, taunting me to touch them again.

After a quick search of the Internet, I gathered a few tips and tricks, along with recipe ideas. I picked up my kitchen shears, a sharp knife and a pot of water and went to work. (Allow me to diverge for but a moment. One of the best things you can buy for your kitchen is a good strong pair of scissors this is dishwasher safe and preferably comes apart for easy cleaning. Trust me, you'll never regret having these around!)

Getting Ready

Getting Ready
Getting Ready | Source

Start your Pot of Boiling Flavor

Start boiling a large pot of water with a few tablespoons of salt, a few quartered lemons, several whole peeled cloves of garlic, several bay leaves and a few freshly clipped sprigs of rosemary from my garden. If you happen to have a sage plant or some thyme growing too, throw a bit in the pot for some extra flavor. If you don't have fresh herbs, you can always use dry, or leave out anything that you don't have available or just don't like. You won't be adding your artichokes to the pot until it reaches a high simmer or low boil, so go ahead and get it started while you prepare your artichokes. The main point here is to get as much deliciousness into the pot as you can so that your artichokes can soak it up while they cook.

Start Your Pot of Boiling Flavor

Start Your Pot of Boiling Flavor
Start Your Pot of Boiling Flavor | Source

Taming the Beast

  1. After rinsing your artichoke in running water, hold it by the stem and grab your kitchen scissors. Beginning at the stem and working your way towards the tip, snip off the tips of each petal (about 1/2-3/4 inches) so that the artichoke can't poke you anymore.
  2. When you get down to the last 1/2-1 inch of the tip, take your sharp knife and slice off the tip, leaving a level, harmless beast that is easy to handle.
  3. Turn the artichoke around and slice off the entire stem. Some people like to leave about an inch or so of it on, and this is up to your preference. You will be able to eat this part later, so it may also depend on how tender your artichoke is.
  4. By the time you finish preparing your artichokes, the water should be at a decent boil. Carefully submerge your artichokes into the water. Unfortunately, they do seem to have a tendency to float, so you may have to use a tilted lid to hold them down some and occasionally turn them with a pair of tongs so that they cook evenly. Be sure you don't overcrowd the pot. You can always cook 2 or 3 now and then the rest afterwards.
  5. After about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your artichokes, you should be able to pick one up with a pair of tongs and easily stick a fork into the base of the stem. If it easily goes in, that means your artichoke is done and ready to be pulled out of the water to cool. If you have any additional artichokes to cook, now is the time to add them to your pot with no additional seasoning needed.

The Artichoke, Now Defenseless

The Artichoke, Now Defenseless
The Artichoke, Now Defenseless | Source

Defenseless Artichokes Soaking up the Flavor

Defenseless Artichokes Soaking up the Flavor
Defenseless Artichokes Soaking up the Flavor | Source

What to do While you Wait?

While your artichokes will have soaked up enough flavor from the pot of deliciousness, some people do enjoy also having a sauce to dip the petals and, when finally reached, the heart, into as they enjoy their treasure. My favorite is a mixture of half lemon juice and half butter, but any kind of aoli will do just fine. Artichokes are great to eat as soon as they cool enough to not burn yourself (yes, I've done this) or can be kept in an airtight container and warmed up in the microwave a few days later. Having tamed the wild beast, enjoy!


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