- Begin by removing the toughest leaves from the base of each artichoke and trim the stem to approximately 3cm in length. Alternatively, for larger artichokes, you can remove the stem entirely to make them sit flat.
- Place the prepared artichokes in a saucepan filled with lightly salted boiling water, adding a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor. Alternatively, you can use a steamer. Cook them for a duration of 15 to 30 minutes, depending on their size and freshness. Artichokes that have been recently cut will require less cooking time, sometimes as little as 7 to 8 minutes for small ones. You'll know they're done when a leaf from the middle can be easily pulled away, and the heart is tender when pierced with a knife.
- To enjoy, start by pulling off the outer leaves. Dip these leaves into your preferred sauce and use your teeth to scrape away the tender portion. Continue working your way down to the tiny, papery leaves near the base, discarding them. Use a spoon to remove the hairy part of the choke, revealing the delicious heart.
For serving ideas:
- Savor the artichokes simply with melted butter and a dash of lemon juice for dipping the leaves.
- Create a quick hollandaise sauce by melting 150g of butter and gradually whisking it into an egg yolk until it reaches a loose consistency, akin to mayonnaise. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, season with a pinch of salt and some pepper.
- Craft a straightforward vinaigrette by combining a crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of mustard, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, and 6 tablespoons of olive or rapeseed oil in a screw-topped jar. Shake vigorously to emulsify, and if you like, include 1 tablespoon of finely chopped capers.
- For a unique twist, try barbecued artichokes. After boiling or steaming as mentioned earlier, slice them in half lengthwise from tip to base. Brush them with olive oil and grill them, cut side down, on the barbecue for a couple of minutes. Enjoy each half as described above, savoring the intense, smoky flavour.