Every artichoke article starts out talking about how misunderstood they are and though initially intimidating, are actually quite amenable. Yeah. That’s where we’re going.
But, rather than try to convince you to integrate artichokes into your everyday diet, we’re going to suggest that you host an intimate artichoke party as a subtle entrée into the artichoke experience.
Why? Because nothing is cooler than sitting around with a friend, peeling off the leaves of a steamed artichoke and dipping them in sauce with a lovely glass of white as you discuss the history of utilitarianism and the role of Lady Whistledown in “Bridgerton”, as well as the renegade ducks down the street that keep getting loose. Trust us. It’s a party starter.
Selecting & Prepping your Artichoke
But, how do we get there? From here: Artichokes are primarily grown in Texas and in season in the spring, March through May, though available year round. Initially, they are the size of a pea, and if not harvested in time, they blossom into beautiful — but inedible — blue-violet flowers. Pretty if not palatable.
Side Note: In 1948, Norma Jeane Mortenson was honored as the first official “Artichoke Queen” of the Castroville, TX Artichoke Festival. Ms. Mortenson would later gain worldwide fame as Marilyn Monroe.
Properly harvested, they are firm, heavy and plump with healthy stems and tight green leaves. Some claim the superiority of the infamous “thornless” artichoke, but beware, these have less flavor, substance and overall chic. Deal with the thorns; it’s not so bad.
That said, you’ll want to watch our video on how to cut an artichoke as a visual aid, but it’s pretty simple:
Full Steam Ahead
Use a pot large enough to insert a steaming basket. Add the juice of one lemon, some wine, or beer and a little butter, tuck your artichokes in stem down, cover and steam on low for 35-45 minutes. It’s that simple. Take a peak every once in a while to make sure you still have liquid in the bottom of your pot. The chokes are done when the base leaves pull off easily.
Dip & Delight
Then sit down to a lovely repast. Simply pull each petal off, dip and remove the meaty part of the leaf using your slightly clenched teeth to scrape. When you get to the center, you will be slightly alarmed by the “choke” part of the art, which is thistly and inedible. But, you can just scoop it off to reveal the tender, savory, exquisite heart, which can also be delightfully dipped.
The art of the artichoke. It’s an experience you’ll want to share.
Of course, if you are more about product than process, we encourage you to buy canned artichoke hearts and use them generously to make these fabulous recipes. Rich, creamy, savory and clean, we (heart) artichokes no matter what the form! Enjoy!