The humble artichoke is a vegetable to be savoured and lingered over. Intimidating to prepare, yet satisfying to eat. At this time of year, we tend to have larger ones, although English ones are smaller.
At Cookery School we simply boil them in a large pot of salted water until when a leaf is pulled it comes off easily. We do not usually remove the choke (known as such because of its hairyness, which could choke you if you swallowed it) it before boiling but if you do want to then here is how:
– Pull the leaves open (but not off), until the choke is revealed.
– It is then removed by scraping away with a teaspoon. Apply lemon juice to the choke as you work otherwise it discolours.
– Wash choke area out to remove any hairy bits.
– Replace leaves by pulling them back in place and boil.
– Drain them by turning them upside down.
I would always serve large ones dressed with proper vinaigrette. I love them at room temperature but always make more which I put in the fridge so that they can be eaten over a few days with more dressing.
Last year I removed hearts from very small artichokes – a very laborious job, but they were wonderful little hearts – from a glut on my daughter’s allotment, boiled them in a vinegar solution and then preserved them in olive oil. They were amazing.
Have a look at this fantastic photo guide on how to eat a whole artichoke by Georgia Glynn Smith.