- 2 artichokes
- WASH the artichokes by holding right side up under running cold water, gently spreading the outer leaves a bit so the water can run down in. You can leave them to soak in the cooking pot for 15 minutes or so if you wish.
- TRIM the artichokes: cut off the stem even with the bottom. I like to toss this in the pot, sometimes peeled, sometimes not. Pull off any small bottom leaves that look withered. Then you can trim as you like. Most often, I lay the artichoke on its side on a cutting board and simply slice off the tip to remove the sharp points. You’ll want a sharp knife for this. If you like, you can then use scissors to clip the points one by one from the lower leaves. Don’t cut away the delicious, tender parts! Put the artichokes upright in a pot. Try for a pot that will hold all that you are cooking firmly enough that they won’t float or tip over and deep enough so you can use a tight fitting cover.
- COOK: fill the pot about halfway with cold water and sprinkle on a teaspoon of sea salt. If the artichokes must wait awhile before cooking, squeeze a lemon into the water. Cover the pot and bring to a full boil. Turn down the heat to a low boil and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the ‘chokes. They are done when a large leaf pulls loose easily.
- EAT an artichoke leaf by leaf. You pull a leaf, starting at the bottom and working around, turn the leaf upside down and scrape off the succulent flesh with your teeth. When you get to the small white leaves, these are usually pulled loose all together. Thus the choke is revealed. With a tableknife, pull the choke loose, scraping just a little. Don’t waste! But don’t leave any choke. The solid bottom is called the HEART and this is the piece de resistance. Most connoisseurs cut this morsel into even wedges to savor.
- BUTTER LOVING HEDONISTS will have a small ramekin of melted butter, this anointed with a judicious grinding of pepper. Each leaf is lightly touched to the butter and then the heart is put into the ramekin of butter to be cut and eaten.
- CAUTIOUS AND FRUGAL diners might eat the leaves tonight and save the hearts for another meal tomorrow.