I grew up eating steamed artichokes. More specifically, I grew up eating steamed artichokes with my dad.
I have one particularly vivid memory from when I was about 7 years old. Dad had carefully prepared the artichokes and the melted butter and then we carefully packed everything up for a fun little picnic at the park. What a sight we must have been as I have since learned, this was not a normal snack for other kids growing up. But it's those kind of memories will stick with me always - moments that feel simultaneously so very special and also so very simple.
If you didn’t grow up eating artichokes at the park with you dad, let me introduce you to this magical vegetable.
First, artichokes are actually flowers. The petals that you see surround the coveted “heart” which is the delicious hunk of artichoke meat right at the base of the flower. Artichokes are tough so steaming or boiling them softens them and makes them edible. These instructions are for the traditional softball-sized artichoke, but after you know the basics, you can adjust your cook time as needed.
To start, trim your artichoke. This isn’t a necessary step, but sometimes the ends of the petals can be a little pokey. Taking a pair of kitchen scissors to the more aggressive ends makes for a more pleasant eating experience. You will also want to snip off the very end the stem.
I've started using my InstaPot to steam artichokes. To do this, place trimmed artichokes into the pot with about 6 inches of water. Use the steam setting with the time set for 10 minutes. For a stovetop method, fill a large stock pot with water. Place your artichokes in the water and cover with a lid. Bring water to a boil and cook for about 40 minutes depending on size of artichoke. To know when the artichoke is ready, carefully try pulling a single petal from the artichoke. If it pulls off with no resistance, you are ready. If you have to tug or pull, let it cook for longer.
Remove the artichokes from pot and allow excess water to drip off. Set on plate and serve with a generous portion of melted butter. Pull one petal at a time from the artichoke. Dip the fleshy part (the end that was nearest the stem) into the butter and then scraping the petal against your top teeth. You will essentially be creating a discard pile of “scraped” petals as you eat your way to the base of the artichoke. Once you get to the tender small petals you will notice you can bite through the flesh.
Now hang with me and don’t freak out. At some point you will have eaten all the petals and you will expose the heart but...it is covered with hair. I said don’t freak out. Gently use a fork or butter knife to scrape the layer of hair off the heart. Then dip that remaining portion into the butter and enjoy the prize because you have just hit the artichoke jackpot.
Cheers to the memories made and the love shared within the walls of your home-