I know many people shy away from artichokes because they look as though they’re too difficult to deal with. I admit they seem fiddly if you trim off all the leaves and remove the choke to get at the heart before you cook them. However I like serving them whole as an entrée or light lunch – firstly boiling them, pouring over a good vinaigrette and gradually working my way to the centre pulled off the leaves and eating the tender bits at the stalk end of each leaf.
Ingredients and Method
Allow 1-2 artichokes each depending on the size
Gently boil the whole artichokes including the stalk if it’s still attached. They’ll take about 20-30 minutes to cook. To test, insert the tip of a sharp knife into the base. It needs to be soft but not mushy. Drain.
Place each artichoke in individual shallow serving bowls. They need to sit upright on their bases so cut off the stalks. If the artichokes aren’t too big the stalks will be edible. Peel off the outside skin and also put those in the bottom of each bowl to absorb some vinaigrette. Sometimes the stalks are too stringy to eat so discard them.
Open up the artichoke leaves so they look like an open flower. Pour over a generous amount of vinaigrette.
Gradually work your way to the centre, eating the tender ends of each leaf. To begin with there won’t be much but as you get closer and closer to the heart and leaves will have a greater part that’s edible. Once you get to the choke – the hairy part – gently discard it all and you’ll be left with the tender, meaty heart. It’s delicate and delicious and particularly nice if you eat it while it’s still warm.
My favourite vinaigrette in the artichokes-
- Whisk together:
- 3 parts extra virgin olive oil
- 1 part good quality white wine vinegar or a mix of white wine vinegar and white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper