Yep, it can be a little intimidating, because you don't just cook an Artichoke. You have to prepare it, stuff it, eat it, prepare it again (so you can eat the heart) which is in the center, then at last enjoy that! But it is not so hard once you have been shown.
This is an artichoke flower. It is from the Thistle family.
The total antioxidant found in an Artichoke is the highest of any vegetable!
Artichokes peak season is in the spring, but I prefer to have them in early fall. That is when my Grandmother would come to visit us & make them.
This is the artichoke you can find @ the grocery store or Farmers Markets.
You will also need Olive Oil, bread crumbs (I prefer Italian seasoned, then you don't have to season them yourself), and a few cloves of garlic. You will need a pair of scissors to snip the tip of each leaf off, as it has a sharp thorn on it.
Cut the stem off the Artichoke @ the base of the choke so it sits flat. I cut up enough garlic in small pieces so that you can place a sliver in between every leaf as shown above. This also helps keep the leaves a little open for when you stuff it.
Add about a cup of bread crumbs, salt & pepper then drizzle with enough Olive oil to make the bread crumbs a little moist so they clump together a bit. Add 1-2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir that until it mixes well.
Place the choke over the bowl of crumbs & with a spoon, slowly start to fill the leaves with the stuffing, turning the choke as you go.
When finished it should look like this.
Place in a pot of salted water that has been brought to a boil. I like to use a steam basket. If you do not want the choke to turn brown, put a little lemon or vinegar in the water. Or leave the lid off, but it may take a little longer to cook. I personally don't care if they are still bright green.
It will take about 20-40 minutes for the choke to cook. The best way to test if it is done is to CAREFULLY hold the choke with a fork while you try to pry loose a leaf. If it comes out easy, it is done.
Let it cool for a few minutes.
Scrape the stuffing & the 'flesh' of the choke between your teeth! When you have gotten to the center & there are very few leaves left & no more stuffing to be found,
cut the soft leaves off the top of the choke. Shown above, the right side you do not eat, the left side you do, after your remove the 'thistle'.
Again, the right side you discard & the left side is what is left after you scrape out all the 'thistle' leaves. What you are left with is the artichoke heart.
This is the most tender part, you should be able to cut it with a fork. Alot of people will drizzle this with Olive oil & then eat, but I love to eat it plain. My daughter Morgan is a very picky eater. She eats no green vegetables EXCEPT fresh Artichoke! I have to fight her for it, go figure!!