Fresh artichokes should be compact, plump and feel heavy for their size. The leaves should be green and tightly closed. Whether boiled, steamed, or grilled, these green globes are very versatile as a snack, appetizer, stuffed, or in a main course. Share one or enjoy a whole one yourself.
2 large fresh artichokes
1 large lemon, cut in quarters
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 dried bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
Sprinkle of kosher salt
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2-3 fresh whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Prepare artichoke for cooking
To prepare whole artichokes, cut the top one third off with a serrated knife. The teeth of a serrated knife make it easier to cut through the tough exterior. Discard the trimmings.
Trim the bottom stem flush with the base. Next, trim off the prickly point of each leaf with a pair of kitchen scissors. Rub a cut lemon over the artichoke to prevent it from turning brown.
How to cook an artichoke
In a deep pan wide enough to hold artichokes, place trimmed artichokes stem side up in the bottom of the pan (or place on a steamer rack). Fill pan with a few inches of cold water. Squeeze lemon juice over the artichokes and put rinds in the pan. Drizzle in olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, add bay leaf, black peppercorns, thyme sprigs and garlic.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. When steam starts coming out of the pan, turn the heat down to low and cook artichokes until you can pierce the center of the stem with a paring knife. The timing will depend on the size of the artichokes. For big ones test at 20-25 minutes and continue if needed for a few minutes. Another way to tell when an artichoke is ready is to pull off and outer leaf. It should come off easily.
Remove the artichokes from the pan and drain on a towel. At this point, you can arrange the artichokes on a platter and serve them hot, at room temperature or chilled.
To finish by grilling, split the artichokes in half from top to bottom, remove the fuzzy choke, brush with a little olive oil and place on the grill for a few minutes until a little charred. This enhances the earthy, nutty flavor and makes for a great presentation.
Serve with lemon garlic dipping sauce, recipe below
Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise, reduced fat (I like Veganaise and Ojai Lemonaise)
1 large garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley or chives for color and flavor, as you prefer
Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Can be made ahead of time, covered and refrigerated until serving time.