How to Cook Artichokes
Knowing how to cook artichokes properly is the key to unlocking the delicious flavor of this lovely layered vegetable. As the buds of a thistle plant are harvested for its silky inner flesh with a tender heart and mellow umami taste, artichokes hold a special place in the culinary world. While their unique structure and unfamiliar shape may seem intimidating, learning how to cook artichokes is as simple as deciding which method produces the flavor you love most.
How often do home chefs consider learning how to cook artichokes as part of their regular dining regimens? The misconception that artichokes are difficult to cook colors them as a luxury dish reserved for special occasions. But artichokes are one of the most antioxidant-rich vegetables available and can become a suppertime staple that delivers a bounty of nutrients and flavor. Once you become familiar with how to cook artichokes, you'll be ready to place these blooming beauties at the center of your table.
Jump to Section
- How to Prepare Artichokes
- How to Steam Artichokes
- How to Boil Artichokes
- How to Grill Artichokes
- How to Eat an Artichoke
- Artichoke Recipe
Preparation is at the heart of learning how to cook artichokes, no matter what technique you choose. To get your artichoke ready for cooking, use a sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife to remove the top portion, about a half-inch below the prickly top where the leaves come together. Next, turn the bloom around and slice off the stem, close to the bottom curl of the leaves. Finally, remove the tougher leaves around the base with a knife and run your artichoke under cool water to wash off any soil that may be caught between the layers.
Because the artichoke can oxidize once exposed to the air, rubbing the open ends with a lemon will help minimize browning before cooking. As soon as you know how to prepare artichokes, you're ready to jump into the cooking process!
Steaming may be the simplest approach for aspiring chefs exploring how to cook artichokes, as well as the most familiar. To steam artichokes, place a steamer basket and place the basket in your pot. Fill the pot with water until the level reaches the bottom of the basket. With the pot covered, turn the oven up to high heat and bring the water to a boil, then add the artichokes to the basket. Allow the artichoke to steam for between 25 and 35 minutes. You'll know it's finished when you can slide a knife easily in and out of the stem. You can also pluck a leaf to test readiness; if it pulls free easily, the artichoke is finished steaming.
To add layers of flavor as you explore how to cook artichokes by steaming them, you can include seasonings in your water. This will impart taste elements in the steam that seep into the leaves, bringing complexity to the flesh without requiring additional preparation. Lemon juice and salt are great for bringing out the natural artichoke flavors. With aromatics like mint or bay leaves in the pot, you can experiment with how to cook artichokes with a fuller flavor profile.
Learning how to boil artichokes is similar to the steaming process, but without the steaming basket. For this process, bring a pot of salted water to a boil on your stovetop. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the artichokes. Allow the artichokes to simmer for between 25 and 35 minutes, testing doneness by piercing the base with a knife or pulling out a bottom leaf. If the artichoke resists either test, place it back in the water for a few more minutes and test again.
Once the artichokes are done cooking, remove them from the pot and bring them to the table warm. Understanding how to cook artichokes by boiling means remembering to dab them dry with a towel and removing excess water between the leaves by tipping them upside down and shaking them gently. This will prevent them from being soggy when served.
If maximizing flavor through open-flame cooking is your preferred cooking method, then learning how to grill artichokes is a lesson you'll love. As opposed to knowing how to cook artichokes through steaming or boiling, cooking artichokes on a grill gives you the incredible option of including these valuable vegetables in your outdoor spreads.
Preparing an artichoke for the grill is slightly more involved, as it requires you to steam the vegetables first. Once you've cut away the stem and lower leaves and rinsed the artichoke, use a sharp knife to slice it in half from top to bottom. Remove the fuzzy piece found just above the stem, called the choke, from each half. This may require a bit of digging with a spoon, but the choke isn't edible, so it's an important step to master. If you prefer, you can cut each half into two pieces to create quarters to make your artichoke go even further. After cutting, rub all surfaces with lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing before you cook them.
Steam your artichoke pieces for up to 45 minutes to make sure they're soft and ready for the grill. Halved and quartered pieces usually steam more quickly than a whole artichoke, so test them at the 25-minute mark and continue steaming if necessary.
Once steaming is complete and the artichokes are edible, brush the pieces with oil and sprinkle each with salt, pepper and the seasonings of your choice. Get your grill ready by bringing it to a medium heat. Place your artichokes on the surface cut-side down and let cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until grill marks appear and the edges have those delicious caramelized bits that only grilling can create. Remove them from the grill and get ready to enjoy some seriously tasty vegetables — the reward for learning how to cook artichokes over an open flame!
Once you've mastered the art of how to cook artichokes, it's time to learn how to eat an artichoke. Because the unfamiliar shape and structure make it challenging to identify exactly what you can eat, knowing the edible elements is crucial. The simplest way to eat an artichoke is to simply pluck the leaves, dip them in melted butter and scrape the inner fibers away with your teeth. It seems a bit inelegant, but it's an effective way to enjoy the edible parts without too much added work. Once you reach the heart, which is the fleshiest and generally considered the most delicious part of the artichoke, you can dig in with a fork and knife.
To make the most of this healthful vegetable, try the following methods to ramp up the flavor:
- Spice Things Up
Finding your preferred method for how to cook artichokes will obviously lead to more sophisticated takes on how to eat an artichoke. For fans of strong spices, a vegan curry provides a rich, saucy base filled with root vegetables and aromatics for artichokes to join in on. It's the perfect recipe to serve over rice or with homemade naan. If your journey of discovering how to eat an artichoke leads you in a more conventional direction, you can load up a soothing potato stew with tender artichoke hearts and give a flavorful gourmet twist to a savory soup-pot standard.
- Add Instant Appeal
Maybe you're wondering if you can put your kitchen gadgets to good use in service of undertaking how to cook artichokes. The answer is a resounding yes! Trim the time and guesswork from the process by cooking up Instant Pot artichokes. After cutting and rinsing your artichokes, pop them into the pot on top of the steaming rack, add water and set the time for eight quick minutes. Once finished, your artichokes will be ready for the dinner table.
- Get A Little Saucy
Not satisfied with the simple, natural flavor you find in the flesh after learning how to cook artichokes? The subtle, earthy taste is an ideal host for a range of spreads and sauces in whatever flavors capture your fancy. One fantastic candidate is a fiery Sriracha aioli, a simple topper that adds lime juice, fresh garlic and honey to Sriracha and mayonnaise. The blend of cool creamy, soothing sweet and hopping heat will ensure that the trouble you've taken to learn how to cook artichokes doesn't go unappreciated. And of course, that party favorite hot artichoke dip is a prime choice for putting your new skills around how to cook artichokes to their best use. There's even a vegan artichoke and spinach dip that lets plant-based eaters get in on the fun.
The only step left after mastering the ins and outs of how to cook artichokes is working it into your recipe line-up. Whether served on its own as an intriguing appetizer or added to a larger spread as a delicious side dish, the fun of learning how to cook artichokes opens the door to a world of savory possibilities. You just might find that knowing how to cook artichokes is the beginning of a whole new culinary adventure!
Ready to begin your culinary adventure? Try your hand at the easy artichoke recipe below.
How to Cook Artichokes Recipe
Directions 6 steps | 45 Minutes
Prepare the artichokes by slicing off the top and stem and removing any tough leaves from around the base.
Wash the artichokes to get rid of dirt or grit that may be caught between the leaves and rub both ends with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Fill the pot with just enough water to touch the bottom of the basket. Add the salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to the water to add flavor to your artichokes as they cook.
Place your steamer basket into a pot. Add your artichokes and cover the pot.
Place it on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Allow your artichokes to steam for between 25 to 35 minutes. Your artichokes are finished steaming when you can slide a knife easily into the base and the inner leaves pull out without resisting.
Serve plain or paired with melted butter or a dipping sauce. Enjoy!