Once you learn how to cook artichokes, you won’t be able to get enough of them! In the spring, I repeat this steamed artichoke recipe.
A few years ago, when I first saw a fresh artichoke at the farmers market, I immediately knew I would take it home. It was so pretty, with its tight petals and thick stem tinged with purple. How could I resist it? But when I got home I realized I have one tiny problem …. I didn’t know how to cook artichokes.
That spring, I passed on the artichoke preparation to my mother, who was visiting (thank you, Mom!), But since then I have mastered the artichoke cooking myself. I wanted to share my method today because it’s high artichoke season, and fresh artichokes are too good to miss. The leaves are plump and satisfying, with a bright nutty flavor with lemon. Serve them with a savory dip or melted butter for a fresh springtime appetizer that just can’t be beat.
How to prepare an artichoke
Preparing artichokes for the first time can be intimidating, but don’t let that intimidate you! Once you’ve learned how to do it, it’s a snap. Here is what you need to do:
First of all, make sure you have the right equipment. The artichokes start to brown as soon as you cut them. To reduce this oxidation, you will need a quarter of a lemon to rub the cut surfaces of the artichoke. I also recommend using a stainless steel knife instead of a carbon steel knife, which can increase browning. In addition, you will need a cutting board, a peeler, a large saucepan, and a steamer basket.
Start by preparing the stem. Peel off the leathery little petals from the stem of the artichoke.
Then use your knife to cut off the end of the stem. You just need to cut a little! The stem is completely edible and has a wonderful fleshy texture. You will definitely want to cook and eat it.
After cutting the stem, gently mark it to help it cook faster. Now is the time to use that lemon! Rub it over the cut surface of the stem to prevent browning.
Then take your peeler. Use it to cut off the tough outer skin of the artichoke stem. Then rub the peeled sides of the stem with lemon juice.
Then prepare the artichoke leaves. Slice 1/2 to 1 inch off the top of the artichoke.
At this point, your artichoke will have a flat top with a few rows of pointed leaves on the sides.
Generously rub the cut and flat leaves with lemon juice …
and use kitchen scissors to cut off the sharp ends of the lower leaves. (Fun fact: artichokes are the flower buds of a member of the thistle family. From those prickly leaves, you can tell!)
It’s time to cook!
How to cook artichokes
My favorite method of cooking artichokes is by steaming them. Steaming artichokes is easy and hands-off, and it’s a perfect way to prepare them if you want to peel the leaves and dip them in a sauce or melted butter.
Once you have prepared the artichoke, add 1 inch of cold water to a large pot and squeeze the remaining juice into your lemon. Also drop the squeezed lemon segments in the water. Place a steamer basket inside the pan and snuggle up in the artichoke. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and cook 35 to 45 minutes.
The artichoke is ready when the stem is fork tender and you can easily peel off the outer leaves.
Unless you are working with baby artichokes, there is one step left before you eat! You need to remove the starter (in baby artichokes the starter is edible). To do this, cut the steamed artichoke in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the hairy constriction, which sits between the cup-shaped artichoke heart and the tender inner leaves.
Note: the starter has not been removed from the artichokes in the photo below. This is the fuzzy section just below the small purple tipped leaves.
Suggested portions of steamed artichoke
So, you learned how to cook artichokes … but what about eat their?
Steamed artichokes have three edible parts: the leaves, the stem and the core. To eat the leaves, you will peel them one by one and scrape the tender meat with your teeth, discarding the tough, fibrous shell. They’re tasty on their own, but they’re really not complete without some sort of dip. Melted butter is a classic choice, and the creamy sauces are delicious too. Try serving them with Caesar dressing or tartar sauce.
Once you’ve eaten the leaves, you’ll end up with the cup-shaped artichoke heart and stem. They’re meaty and flavorful – enjoy them with olive oil, sea salt, and lemon juice, or dip them in the sauce you’ve served with the leaves.
Steamed artichokes are an excellent appetizer for spring recipes such as tagliatelle with asparagus and peas, pasta with pesto or Aglio e Olio spaghetti. They also make a great side dish. Serve them with my asparagus soup or any protein of your choice. Enjoy!
More Favorite Spring Recipes
If you enjoyed learning how to cook artichokes, check out one of these spring cooking guides below:
How to cook artichokes
Preparation time: ten minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
This simple steamed artichoke recipe makes a great springtime appetizer. Enjoy the tender petals with melted butter or another savory sauce for dipping.
- 1 globe artichoke
- 1 lemon, cut in four
- Melted butter or dip, To serve
Prepare the artichoke stem: remove the leaves from the stem and use a vegetable peeler to peel off the woody exterior of the stem. Use a sharp stainless steel knife to cut off the end of the rod and gently mark the cut end with an “X” pattern. Rub the stem all over with the cut side of one of the lemon segments to prevent browning.
Prepare the artichoke bud: Cut off the top quarter of the artichoke, about 1/2 to 1 inch. Rub the cut leaves all over with the lemon. Use kitchen scissors to cut off the sharp ends of the remaining leaves.
Steam the artichoke: Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and squeeze out the remaining lemon juice. Add the squeezed lemon segments to the pot. Place a steamer basket in the pan, add the artichoke and bring to the boil. Cover and steam for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the artichoke stalk is fork tender and you can easily peel off the outer leaves.
Remove the starter: Let the artichoke cool slightly. Cut it in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon to remove the hairy constriction.
Serve the artichoke halves with melted butter or another dip of your choice. To eat, dip the leaves in the sauce and use your teeth to scrape the meat, discarding the tough, fibrous shell. You can eat the whole artichoke heart and stem.