I rarely cook anything in the microwave, but it works really well with artichokes. Prepare like others described above, put in a micro-safe bowl and cover. (I use Corning ware) Put a little water in the bottom and cook on high about 10 minutes, or until leaves pull off easily. Time will depend on size and maturity of artichoke.
For dipping I use clarified butter with lemon and garlic.
Cook several at a time, and eat them cold for snacks.
That dipping sauce sounds good. I usually dip in mayo mixed with soy sauce or Worcestershire…easy and a good foil for the artichoke. Miss those lovely CA ones living in the midwest…even when they’re in season they usually don’t look that good out here.
I have them quite often in a local pizza place. They wrap the whole thing in foil with liquid and place in the oven.
Bob in Cary
I don’t really time them, but cook them until the bottom leaves/petals pull away easily.
I just cut a little of the stem and outer leaves off, then put in boiling water for about 10 -15 minutes. I make a dipping sauce of Organic whole milk plain yogurt, crushed garlic and good quality parma cheese. Sometimes I add fresh herbs. I boil the chokes with 1 or 2 lemons and some olive oil.
I dip each of the cooked leaves and innards, it is slow but good eating.
Again, at home, they aren’t difficult to prepare. I do it just like Bob in Cary. Whack off the pointed end about 1/4 the way toward the stem end, then steam (I’ll take his word for the time–I have to look it up each time I do it). Squeeze a little lemon juice over them and serve with melted butter.
BT, you are correct as they are messy, finger food and tasty. I saw on the food Channel that they have a festival north of LA somewhere.
I think they are a bit difficult to prepare but then again, they are very good.
Paul E. Smith
Well, Central CA is where most of them are commercially grown and the grocery stores pretty much all carry them through the season plus there’s a very long and deep Italian connection in the area. I never honestly thought about it, though. I just buy them as a vegetable like I buy tomatoes (but then I also buy Brussel Sprouts and that’s probably pretty wierd too). But most people I know like them. Still, it seems to me that they are mostly eaten at home because of the mess–they are a "finger food".
If you every travel the Monterey Bay area of Central California stop in Castroville for a couple of reasons. 1. and most important to me!!!! The Central Texas BBQ on Main Street does a real good job on it’s Que and is worth a stop. and 2. (the reason for this Post)– Castroville is the center of a major Artichoke Growing area in that part of veggie-producing country. I love to mess with steamed artichokes…but at home where ‘style’ isn’t an issue. Keep some seasoned butter melted to dip the leaf-tips into and boy are they good. The Hearts themselves are even better.
Several places in Castroville brag on their deep-fried Artichokes, but I have never tried one so I can’t report on them.[8D]
Bob in Cary
I’m pretty lazy when it comes to preparing them. I whack about a quarter inch off the end of the stem and steam them for 35 or 40 minutes. Then serve them with melted butter with a little fresh lemon juice in it.
Our markets have 2 varieties of large ones. I’ve never seen the babies here.
I love artichokes but the handsome Zman is not too crazy about them. I like them steamed, baked with garlic and breadcrumbs under each leaf, "turned", steamed and grilled and served with balsamic vinaigrette, on and on. A "turned" artichchoke is one where all the leaves are removed, the choke removed and just the bottom is cooked. Stuff it with sauteed spinach, top with some gruyere cheese and bake. Wicked good. When I worked in the Boston area I could buy cases of baby artichokes which were lovely in a veal/wild mushroom dish, chicken dish, or just on a salad.
Seems that artichokes are consumed in areas where there are large Italian communities. Or maybe CA where they are big and fat and cheap! I just asked Zman if he ate artichokes growing (Czech ancestry) and the answer was "NOPE".
I’m thinking BT may be on to something. Rassling artichokes is a lot of work in the kitchen, especially for a side dish that was once considered upscale and is now unknown by many.
I’m also wondering if artichokes are more popular in different parts of the country. My Wife loves them, because her Dad who spent the best part of his childhood in California loves them and made them whenever he could get them. We usually see them (and order them) on menus in San Francisco, but rarely (other than out of a jar or in upscale Italian places) in Boston. Makes sense since most in our stores come from CA. Has anyone else noticed that artichokes are more common restaurant offerings in certain parts of the country?
I remember a very nice restaurant on the north side of Columbus– the Garden Gallery — where they had steamed artichokes on the menu. They served them with melted butter and with a really good horseradish sauce (no, not horseysauce). And, they served them on an artichoke plate, with indentations around the edge for the leaves. I think I almost always ordered the same thing whenever we’d go there: An artichoke appetizer and a rack of lamb. Yum. Nice memory.
You could make it easier on everyone and just serve the "bottoms" which are all edible. I love whole steamed artichokes at home but it does seem a little time-consuming and messy to do in a restaurant. At home I have a big bowl for the leaves after I’ve nibbled the little edible bit off them, but lots of restuarant tables hardly have room for anything like that.
People also are self-conscious about the fact that they don’t know how to eat them.
I remember when I lived in France years ago, and I was served an artichoke, and I ate it properly (my Italian parents served them often). I recall the faces of my French hosts, who actually looked disappointed. So I asked them what the problem was. They responded that they had a laugh in times past when Americans were served artichokes, and they proceeded to eat everything, including the chewy outer part of the leaf!
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