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YUM!!

Who doesn’t love a good artichoke? If you’ve never tried one, then read the tips below to buying and cooking a great one, then go to the store immediately, buy one (or four and invite your friends over, after all, it’s FRIDAY PEOPLE!) and enjoy them tonight.

Last night we had dinner with our dear friend, Mike, who is a fascinating guy from Montreal.  He’s Itialian by heritage, but speaks a ton of languages having grown up in French-speaking Montreal, and having friends from every walk of life.

Over dinner he said, “remember last time we had dinner and you cooked artichokes?  I’ve been craving them, I’m going to have them tomorrow night.”  So I shared with him some simple tips that will create a fool proof result:

Buying:

  • You want a tightly packed leaf choke (see above).  If the leaves are loose and open, they’re likely to be tough, mealy, and icky!
  • The rounder the better.

Cooking:

  • The best and healthiest way to cook them is by steaming them. 
  • Get a huge pot and steamer basket (if you don’t have a steamer basket, don’t worry, you can use a trivet or cooling rack, or even in a pinch take a couple coffee mugs and place them open end up in the bottom.  This will prevent the chokes from sitting on the bottom of the pot in water).
  • Put about an inch to an inch and a half of water in the bottom of the pot.
  • Cut the stems to about an inch long.
  • Put the artichokes “face down” so the leaves point down into the pot, this way when they steam and relax, any debris comes out, and it cooks faster.
  • Put the heat on 8-9 (basically high), put the lid on and set your timer for about 15-20 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, you’ll want to check your water leve, make sure you always have water in there!
  • You want to cook them for a total of about 40-45 minutes.
  • You know it’s done by inserting a steak or paring knife into the bottom most leaf, and if it goes through a few leaf layers, you’re good to go.

Eating:

  • Serve each choke in it’s own bowl, and get a big bowl for the center of the table for “used” leaves.
  • As a tasty condiment, you can melt some butter, or (cringe, I seriously still do this) use straight up MAYO. WHAT?!?!?!?! I know, I know, it’s SO BAD! (then why does it taste so good????)
  • You can also strain a little non fat plain yogurt and stir in some roasted garlic, or just garlic powder and salt.
  • Any way you enjoy them, make sure to eat all the leaves down till you see the “Hair” (after the leaves with purple tips).
  • Use a spoon to scrape the hair out, and what you’re left with is the heart:
(curtosey of http://timeinthekitchen.com/2008/12/king-crab-stuffed-artichoke-leaves/)

Dip that mother in some MORE melted butter or dare I say it, MAYO, and die of happiness.

So, what time should I come over?

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