How to cook Globe Artichoke?
I normally don't buy exotic vegetables that I never tried. When I was shopping late the other day a strange vegetable lying on the reduced shelf was only 10 pence. It was a globe artichoke, like a torch.
I threw it into my trolley without a single idea how to cook it. The next day when I tried to cook it, I studied the label on which cooking instructions print:
Remove stem and tough outer leaves, cut off the top 3cm of leaves, and immediately rub all cut surfaces with lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Place in a pan and cover with water, add lemon uice, a pinch of salt and a bay leaf. Bring to the boil and simmer or 3 minutes, until the leaves can be easily pulled away from the globe. Remove the central core of purple leaves and the inedible hairy choke. Eat by pulling the leaves out and sucking the flesh out of the bottom of the leaves.
Usually I just ignore cooking instructions and cook all vegetables using stir-and-fry technique. I did same this time. I washed and plucked leaves for cooking. Not until I saw the delicate inside white-purplish 'leaves', I realised that so-called 'leaves' in the cooking instructions are really petals and the whole thing is a flower bud. Indeed a hairy choke was revealed after all petals were plucked. I removed the hairy choke and the stem except a small portion of inner most white part which I think edible.
When I was eating it, I felt that this is the most difficult vegetable to eat. I had to hand-hold each petal and dealt with them one at a time by drawing the base of the petal through my teeth to scrape off the soft portion, discarding the rest of it. Now I understand why the cooking instructions advise cuting off the top 3cm of leaves and boiling it. Boiling should be better than stir-and-fry to cook artichokes because they are full of fibres.
On Wikipedia, I found a description of artichokes: The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the "heart". The inner most white portion I saved is the 'heart' and indeed it was the best bit of the whole globe.
The globe artichoke I bought was produced in Spain, other main producers are Italy, France, and some states of US.
If you prefer to keep it green during cooking, follow the instructions to rub all cut surfaces with lemon juice and leave lid open when you boil it. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation.
Artichoke stems, which are often thrown away like I did, are actually edible and taste like the artichoke heart.