Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easy Elegant Artichokes

I adore artichokes.  They're so beautiful and so delicious!  Unlike most of my suburban elementary school classmates, we would have artichokes frequently and always had lots of fun eating them.  They were great kid food, kept us all occupied while the parents could have a moment's peace and quiet.  I still make them when ever I can find nice one's in the market.  To save time I normally do them in the pressure cooker, but you can cook them in your favorite manner and then proceed with the recipe.  These are a great side dish or appetizer.  You can either serve just one half per person if you are having other dishes, or serve both halves if you are having a lighter meal.  It's wonderful with fish.

2 whole large artichokes
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs olive oil
½ lemon, in wedges

Trim the artichokes as follows:
            Trim a small bit off the cut end
            With a large knife, cut off the top 1” or so
            Snap off the bottom row or two of leaves
            With a paring knife carefully trim off the outside fibrous layer and the base of the 
            lower leaves

Cook the artichokes until tender by using one of the following methods:
            Simmer in lots of salted water with 1 tea sugar
            Pressure cooker for 10 minutes with 1 cup water w/ ½ tea salt & ½ tea sugar

Check for tenderness by pulling off one of the lower leaves and eating!  If it’s still tough, give it a few more minutes.

Remove the artichokes from the stove and drain.  Cool slightly.  When cool enough to handle, place them upside down on a cutting board so that you can cut them in half north to south.  Carefully remove the choke and small leaves in the center with a paring knife.

Melt the butter with the olive oil and salt in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Add the artichokes cut side down.  Cook over medium low until the cut side is nicely browned.

Notes:  serves 2 to 4.  If you would like, you can melt additional butter and pour over before serving, but you really don't need to.


  1. I hope you don't mind me asking, but since I have never cooked artichokes, could you be more specific on the parts that should be cooked? (Maybe some pics?) For example, what exactly do you mean with "remove the choke and small leaves in the center with a paring knife"? What does "choke" mean? (Maybe it's because English is not my mother tongue that I am having trouble...)


    1. The choke is the center tough part of the artichoke. It is inedible and needs to be removed. You can remove this with a small knife. It looks like fine grass or hair...

  2. Followed your pressure cooker time and artichokes came out mushy... I guess you got the time wrong.

    1. I'm sorry you weren't happy with the results. I suppose different brands of pressure cookers give different results. I have made this recipe many times with great success. Did you leave the artichokes in after the cooking time in the pressure cooker? You will need to release the pressure after the cooking time and remove the artichokes. If you leave the artichokes in while the pressure releases naturally, they will over cook.

      You need to shave off a minute or two from the cooking time for your pressure cooker.

      Hope this helps and thank you for trying the recipe!