How to Cook an Artichoke

Cheryl Cirelli
Grilled artichokes

Artichokes can be intimidating to those not familiar with the vegetable. Once you master a simple method of preparing an artichoke, you can experiment with more recipes using this healthy and tasty vegetable. Incorporate it in a variety of dishes.

Preparing the Artichoke

First, wash the artichoke thoroughly. To do this, simply hold it under cold running water. Be sure to rinse between all leaves, but do not pull on them or they may fall out. Turn the artichoke upside down and shake out any remaining water. Dry with a clean towel.

Basic Artichoke Prep

To prepare an artichoke for cooking:

  1. Use a large knife and cut off the top inch or two of the artichoke where the leaves are tightest.
  2. Trim the leaves using a pair of kitchen scissors. You will want to remove the sharp ends of each leaf.
  3. Cut off the stem to create a flat base.

You are now ready to cook the artichoke using your favorite method. If you do not plan on using the artichoke immediately, place it in a bowl of water with lemon juice. This will keep the artichoke from discoloring.

Preparing the Heart

For recipes that only use the heart of the artichoke, follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove all leaves from the artichoke. Begin with the outer layer of leaves and work your way in until all are removed.
  2. Use a small paring knife and remove the hard leaf sections around the base of the artichoke.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, trim the woody layer of the stem and remove the bottom of the stem.
  4. Cut the remaining artichoke into half lengthwise.
  5. Remove the soft, purple leaves and the spiky part that covers the choke. You can use a spoon to scoop this out.
  6. The remaining heart can be sliced and cooked for your recipe.
  7. To keep the heart from discoloring, place it in water with lemon juice.

Microwave Steamed Artichokes

Steaming

Steaming in a microwave is the quickest way to cook an artichoke. Try to choose the freshest artichokes possible for this method of cooking for the most tender results.

Ingredients

  • 2 trimmed artichokes
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Place artichokes in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Add water and a few drops of lemon juice to the dish and cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
  3. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Check if the leaves come off easily. If not, microwave for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from microwave and serve immediately.

Stove Top Steamed Artichokes

Steaming artichokes on the stove top allows for more moisture and prevents the artichokes from getting tough.

Ingredients

  • 2 trimmed artichokes
  • 1/2 cup water or enough to fill up ½ inch of a pan
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Add 1/2 inch of water to a large pan and bring to a boil on the stove top.
  2. Add sea salt to the boiling water.
  3. Gently place the artichokes in the pan, making sure they stand up but are not completely submerged into the water.
  4. Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Allow artichokes to simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. To check for doneness, pull a leaf from the center. If it is easily detached, the artichoke is done. If there is some resistance, simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until leaves are loosened.

Grilled Artichokes

For another layer of flavor for your artichokes, try this grilled recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 trimmed artichokes
  • 1 pot of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add sea salt.
  2. Carefully drop the artichokes into the boiling water and allow to boil for 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Remove the artichokes from the water and place on a platter.
  4. Once cool, cut each artichoke into half.
  5. Brush the artichoke halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Place artichokes cut side up on a hot grill.
  7. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  8. Flip each artichoke over and grill for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Remove artichokes from grill and squeeze fresh lemon juice over each half.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy!

Roasted Artichokes

Roasting is easy to do and brings out a nutty flavor from the artichokes.

Ingredients

  • 1 large trimmed artichoke, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 thin slices of lemon, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Place artichoke halves into pan and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle dried thyme over all sides of the artichoke.
  5. Make sure artichoke is placed cut side down into pan and place one lemon slice and a clove of garlic under each half.
  6. Add 1/4 cup of water to pan.
  7. Cover pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and garnish with additional lemon slices.

Easy Dip Recipes

Steamed Artichoke with dip

Artichokes can be eaten plain or the leaves can be dipped into melted butter, spicy mustard, or a special dip. When dipping the leaves, simple dip the leaf and scrape your teeth across it and enjoy. You can discard the outer layer of the leaf and move onto the next one.

These simple recipes can be served along side your artichokes, and are delicious whether the artichoke is steamed, grilled, roasted, or boiled.

Easy Garlic Aioli

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 diced scallion
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Chill for 20 minutes and serve with artichokes.

Dill Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes and serve with fresh dill sprigs.

Versatile Vegetable

Artichokes are delicious when eaten alone, or they can be easily used in one of your favorite recipes. They are great addition to a salad or pasta dish and can be used on an antipasto platter as well. This versatile vegetable has many possibilities for you to explore and enjoy.

How to Cook an Artichoke