When you learn how to cook artichokes perfectly, you learn the mastery of making one of the tastiest dinners. The artichoke is part of a flower, the bud of a thistle. The leaves of the artichoke are called the bracts that cover the heart of it, which is a meaty part of the artichoke.
But how do you cook artichokes? What makes them healthy? What mistakes should you avoid? These are great questions, especially if you've never made artichokes before. Knowing the most popular ways to make artichokes can give you an idea of how to make it to perfection.
This guide covers everything you need to know about cooking artichokes to perfection. We also cover the unique ways to make them. Overall, you'll better understand how they are good for your health and how to prepare them for any occasion.
What Is an Artichoke and How to Find a Good One
The origin of artichokes starts in the Mediterranean. It's a Mediterranean dish now grown in parts of California. One of the most unique things about artichokes is that they can up to 3 feet on tall stalks.
When you're at your local grocery store, you also need to be able to spot a good one. You want to ensure that the leaves (or bracts) are tightly packed to the artichoke. Another trick to look for is when you squeeze the artichoke. It should make a squeak. This means it's at peak freshness. It would be best to look for heavier and tender artichokes, another sign that they are ripe.
One of the best ways to cook artichokes is by steaming them because it gives them additional moisture. You can also steam them over the stove in water or a pressure cooker.
Here are the best steps to cooking steamed artichokes
- Slice about 1/2 inch to an inch off the end of the artichoke.
- Cut off the excess stem.
- Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.
- Put a couple of inches of water in a large pot, garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf.
- Place artichokes in a steaming pot. Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer.
- Cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. If it is too long, the leaves will fall off, and the artichoke will be ruined.
Another way to cook artichokes is to grill them. You can set the heat on the grill to 350 degrees. You can also create a basting sauce with garlic pieces cut up and a bit of salt and pepper. However, you can make your own basting sauce based on your preferences.
Here's the guide for cooking grilled artichokes:
- Boil the artichokes until they are tender.
- Use the baste on the artichokes with the sauce.
- Trim tops and stems from artichokes, cut in half from top to bottom, and remove the choke.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add artichokes to boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from a large pot of water and add to grill for 20 minutes.
How to Properly Eat Artichokes
Artichokes are a unique thing to eat. They are delicate.
The most common way to eat artichoke is to pull the outer leaves off and dip them one at a time in mayonnaise or another sauce. You then put the light end of the leaf in your mouth and scrape the top off with your teeth.
When you get to the center of the artichoke, the heart, you can cut it into pieces and then eat it with melted butter or mayonnaise.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
The most common mistake to avoid when cooking artichoke is to overcook it. When you do this, your artichoke could potentially fall apart when you pick it up.
Check your artichoke when you're steaming it to ensure this mistake doesn't happen. You only want to steam it for 30 to 60 minutes. However, cooking in a pressure cooker only takes about 15 minutes.
Now You Know How to Cook Artichokes
Learning how to cook artichokes is a skill because there are many different ways to cook them. There are different methods that require you to be precise, or else the artichoke will be ruined.
This guide gives you some direction on two different ways to cook artichokes. You'll better understand what mistakes to avoid and how you like to cook artichokes as a meal or as a side dish.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/valeriopardi.