I have always loved artichokes. I remember my mom used to make them in a steamer pot and they were one of her favorites. But I never learned how to make them well. I tried steaming them of course, but could never tell how long, how much water, etc, and one time I even burned my artichoke horribly. Alas.
All you need is an oven, preheated to 375, a 9×13 pan, artichokes and a bit of water.
First you need to trim up your artichoke. The tips of the leaves each have a little needle like thorn (they are in the thistle family), so fancier cooks than myself will tell you to cut off the top of the artichoke, and snip all the tips of the leaves. That’s an unnecessary step in my opinion.
I just cut off the bottom 1/2 inch of stem, and cut the artichoke in half. From this point you will see it’s full of fuzzy looking stuff (that’s called the choke). It has to come out. You can do that now, or after they cook. I do it before. You can use a spoon, but a melon baller works really well.
Now you’re ready to cook. Spray some olive oil in your pan, spray the artichoke inside and out and place cut side down in the pan. Add about 1/3″ water. Pop it in the oven, set your timer for 50 minutes and then you’re done! A few of the leaves at the base won’t have any meat on them, but the rest will have a delectable little nibble you can dip in any manner of sauces, drawn butter, or eat plain, like I do.
Once the leaves have been eaten, you get the delicious heart. My favorite part. At our house my 2 year old gets the leaves, and the baby and I share the heart.
You can also stuff the center with all sorts of interesting things before baking. I recommend lemon and garlic, but usually we prefer our artichokes completely plain, they are that good!
So don’t be intimidated by artichokes next time you see them at the store or farmers market. They are a delicious way to expand your palate!