Having fresh, whole artichokes prepped for guests makes you the fun interactive hostess. It's like fondue, but less dated and you don't even have to install shag carpet. But once you buy the artichokes, chances are you've tried this before. You've cooked, they smell weird, they're bitter, you left the fluffy choke in. Ecetera, ecetera, ecetera.
Don't let the choke get you down. It's a worth it, once in a while experience to cook fresh artichokes. And while artichokes taste best dipped in butter sauce, I have a semi rational reason why artichokes served thusly can earn 'better for you' status. Much like cracking pistachios, it takes you a while to get to the good stuff. By the time you eat an artichoke, you're 20 minutes in and your brain maybe is communicating you're full. You spend so much time getting involved with the food and the process, maybe you're up for skipping another drink or dessert. So after floating that theory, I'm also going to say, hell no, butter is not a health food.
How to cook a fresh artichoke 101:
Step 1: Cut off the top of the artichoke. This will reveal several layers into the center of the artichoke.
Step 2: Take kitchen scissors and snip off the tips of each leaf.
Step 3: Peel the stem
Step 4: Remove the furry center choke with a spoon. It's the purple and feathery center region. Go at it with a spoon and don't be afraid to get all up in there.
Step 5: Place your artichoke, face down, into a pot with water. You may need to weight it down with a steamer basket, or whatever else you can craft to avoid it floating. I used a spoon.
Step 6: Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water and let cook for 15 minutes, or until the leaves peel off easily. Cook uncovered to prevent browning.
Step 7: Drain the artichoke. Serve (Ugh, but really it tastes better) sparingly with a butter garlic sauce.
Step 8: Use your teeth to scrape out the inner flesh. Realize it may take a few outer 'nothing' leaves to actually find artichoke meat. You'll know when you find it.
Have you cooked a fresh artichoke? Is it worth it?