Globe artichokes are not sexy. They are not fashionable, and rather hard to find in Britain. Most people I know have never tried one.
Why is this? Does the name put people off, I wonder, with its suggestion of choking? Or is it its large, tight leaves and almost Jurassic appearance?
Whichever way, I think it is a real shame. Artichokes are delicious, nutricious and easy to prepare, and they should be a lot more prominent on people’s shopping lists.
Now just to be clear, I do NOT hold shares in any artichoke-growing conglomerate. I am not here to brainwash anyone into eating artichokes. To me, they are simply a taste of my childhood, and I think it would be nice if more people gave them a chance.
The best way to cook them is to steam them. So dig out your pressure cooker, and after just a few simple steps, you will be ready to enjoy this little treat.
Snap off the stalk, and steam for around 22 min (slightly more if your artichoke is large)
Place in a shallow bowl, and pull out the tougher leaves around the
You are now ready to enjoy the first part: the leaves.
In a small bowl, mix some crème fraîche with a dash of lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper. Pull a leaf out, dip the fleshy part into the cream, then put it in your mouth, and scrape with your teeth as you pull it out. (at this point I shall refer you back to the word “un-sexy” in this post’s title).
Keep doing this until you reach the central leaves, and have exhausted the fleshy ones.
Grab the leaves firmly in your hand, and hold the base of the artichoke in your other hand. Pull firmly apart, and you should be left with just the base, covered with thin, straw-like bristles.
Pull these out, they should come out easily.
You will be left with just the heart. With a small knife, trim any harder bits away from underneath.
Cut into chunks and eat with the rest of your cream dip.