As vegetables go, the artichoke is one of the most intriguing out there. With its beautiful armour-like exterior and delicious savoury-sweet heart, it technically isn't a vegetable at all but the bud of a flowering plant from the thistle family.
If you’re encountering artichokes for the first time they might look a bit intimidating, but once you get a taste for them there’s no looking back. Whether steamed, grilled, roasted, or sautéed, artichokes are one of spring’s most delectable treats. Find out how to prep them here, then enjoy Jamie’s best delicious artichoke recipes.
Let’s start with how to prepare these beauties, which first means understanding their anatomy. As with all flowers, an artichoke has petals: the thick green ones are the outer petals and the thin pale yellow ones are the inner (edible) petals. At the centre of the artichoke is the choke, a fuzzy mass of fine hair-like material. Underneath the choke is the heart and from the heart is the stem. The heart is where all of that delicious and sumptuous flavour is hiding.
Preparing & cooking artichoke
There are two ways to prepare an artichoke for cooking: whole, or just the heart.
To prepare a whole artichoke, give it a rinse, slice off the top quarter and stem with a knife, and snip the ends of the petals off with scissors to remove the thorns. Prepping a whole artichoke this way is perfect for grilling, baking, and the most common method, steaming.
To steam a whole artichoke, place a steaming basket in a large pot filled with water until it reaches the basket. Place the prepared artichokes in the basket and cover. Bring to a boil and steam until the artichoke petals can be removed by gently pulling – this should take about 30 minutes. To eat, pull off one of the outermost petals – these aren’t edible but the base of the petal holds a scrumptious piece of artichoke “meat.”Dip the base of the petal in your favourite sauce, like Jamie’s garlicky aioli, then pull the base of the petal through slightly clenched teeth to remove the tasty “meat” and eat. Once you’ve done this with all of the petals and have reached the heart, remove the fuzzy choke with a spoon. What remains is the glorious artichoke heart to devour.To get right to the heart of the matter, so to speak, and prepare only the artichoke heart for cooking, remove all of the petals, scoop out the choke with a spoon, peel the stem with a vegetable peeler until light green, and rub with a little lemon juice to prevent discolouration. What you’re left with is the best part of the artichoke, which you can eat whole. Roast, fry, dice and sauté, or shave and use in dishes like this glorious artichoke risotto. The thinly sliced dressed artichokes in this comforting dish give it a wonderful fragrance.
Of course, we can’t leave out baby artichokes, the smaller versions of their adult counterparts. Their petite size makes them tender enough for eating whole. To prepare, snap off the outer layers of petals until you reach the pale, yellow inner petals, trim off the tip of the petals and the stem, slice in half lengthways and remove the small choke with a spoon, if needed. Have a go at using baby artichokes in Jamie’s Baby artichoke bruschetta, for a truly flavoursome meal. Delicate artichoke, sweet garlic and fresh mint are the perfect combo, and make this simple bruschetta recipe really sing.
If you want more tips & tricks, French Guy Cooking is here to show you how to peel, cut and prepare an artichoke in 1 minute flat:
FIND MORE TASTY ARTICHOKE RECIPES HERE
For a beautifully simple recipe, Jamie’s Potato & artichoke al forno is so good – serve with a fresh salad to provide a lovely bit of contrast. Baked with fennel, cream and Parmesan, it’s a super-tasty veggie dinner, or it makes a great accompaniment to a Sunday roast.
These stuffed Tray-baked artichokes with almonds, breadcrumbs & herbs make the perfect antipasti for a warm summer’s evening, or serve them alongside meat or fish to take your meal to the next level. Just the ticket to wow guests at a dinner party!
Firing up the barbecue? Then try these Cinder-baked artichokes with lemon, bay & prosciutto and enjoy that wonderful, smoky flavour.
Beautifully dressed Lemony skewered artichokes make the perfect standout dish for a summer barbecue or alfresco dinner. With feta and cured meat, this recipe packs a huge flavour punch.