How to Cook Whole Artichokes

Artichokes. "They’re so hard to cook. They’re tough, you have to do this whole thing where you trim the leaves. And there’s the choke. It’s all hairy and weird and you have to scoop it out and it gets everywhere and it’s a total hassle."

Truly, that is what I thought about artichokes for the longest time! I don’t know what I saw or read that made me think cooking artichokes was a big deal but I definitely overestimated the whole thing.  

My husband grew up eating fresh, steamed artichoke and mentions it whenever he sees someone grilling up artichokes on a cooking show. When I saw artichokes popping up at the grocery store and farmers market I decided to go for it. I was prepared for a whole big thing and it turned out to be ridiculously easy. Like, really so simple I can’t get over it.

Here’s what you do.

  1. Cut off the top 1 inch.
  2. Steam or boil them.
  3. Eat and enjoy!
Four medium artichokes ready to go.

Four medium artichokes ready to go.

Stems trimmed and tops cut off.

Stems trimmed and tops cut off.

I steamed all four together for 20 minutes.

I steamed all four together for 20 minutes.

yum!

yum!

More yum!

More yum!

The hairy choke had barely begun to form.

The hairy choke had barely begun to form.

I've decided that steamed artichoke is my new favorite sit-in-front-of-the-tv-and-eat-all-the-things snack.

For one, they're so delicious.

Two, I love a good finger food and artichokes are about as a hard to eat as shelled pistachios.

My husband eats them plain and I like a little something to dip it in.

Here's my make-it-up-as-you-go herby vinaigrette recipe, plus two more dip ideas to make this a snack you can really feel good about.

Herby Lemon Vinaigrette -

Smash one garlic clove and place it in a small cup with a pinch of salt and pepper and squeeze in half of a lemon. Add in some chopped herbs. What ever you have on hand will be lovely. Rosemary, oregano, mint, tarragon, basil, or parsley are great choices. Let that sit while the artichokes steam. When you’re ready to serve, whisk a good drizzle of olive oil into the lemony herbs. You can strain the vinaigrette if you'd like or leave all the bits in.

For a creamier dip -

whisk together equal parts greek yogurt and sour cream and add some ground pepper and fresh dill.

For buttery goodness -

melt some butter, add chopped herbs, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Mix and enjoy!

For a super simple dip -

drizzle a bit of olive oil into the cut side of the artichoke and sprinkle with salt. Keep your artichoke upright so that the olive oil sinks into the crevices. It is truly lovely.

Important Note -

you don't actually eat the entire leaf. You'll notice that each leaf has little bit of meatyness towards the bottom. You put the leaf in your mouth, bite off the bottom or scrape the meet off with your teeth and discard the rest. As you get further into the core of the artichoke, the leaves will become more tender and you can eat the whole thing.