Selection: Look for tight petals: avoid loose, dropping ones. The touch of brown you commonly find on the tips is OK. It is probably caused by frost.Preparation: Their irregular shape makes artichokes difficult to wash. So plunge them in to water deep enough to cover completely. Swish vigorously, then invert to drain.Steam: Put the artichokes on a rack in a deep pan or dutch oven. Cover tightly in 1 inch of water and steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serving: Here are two schools of thought about serving artichokes.
- Julia Child says, ” Cut away the top 2/3’s and discard it. Then pull the remaining petals off, and discard them. This exposes the solid meat of the vegetable. Use a spoon to remove the hairy “choke”. What remains is a shallow, cup like disc that’s tender and tasty. It’s typically 2 and 1/2 inches wide and 1 and 1/2 inches thick, with a shallow hollow on top. You’ll need one artichoke for person when you stuff it with crab meat or something, for a fancy luncheon. or use it as a base for dinner salads. Or you can serve four to six people with one or two artichokes if you cut them up and marinate them with salad dressing. Use then alone or tossed with other vegetables.
- Steam whole artichokes, as described above. Remove and discard tiny petals around the stalk. Pull the mature petals off one at a time, hold the outer tip and dip the fatter, meaty end in any dressing or dip. Instead of taking a bite, pull the meaty end through your teeth, getting a morsel of delicious artichoke meat (that is wasted in the method above. When you get to the middle discard the flimsy petals. Use a spoon to remove the hairy choke. Now eat the artichoke cup that remains.