Steamed artichokes are almost effortless to prepare, making them an easy appetizer or starter. Allow 1/2 to 1 whole artichoke per person. A pressure cooker speeds up the process.
If you've never eaten steamed artichokes, the normal procedure is to break off the leaves one-by-one. Use your teeth to pull out the edible interior from the wide, fleshy bottom of each leaf. Vinaigrette, flavored mayonnaise or Hollandaise Sauce can be offered as dips for the leaves.
When all of the leaves have been removed, the exposed fuzzy choke can be scraped away to reveal the heart. The entire bottom and heart are then edible.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: 3 to 6 servings
- 3 to 4 artichokes
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves
- wedge of lemon
- bay leaf (optional)
Fill a pot or pressure cooker about 1/3 full with water. Add about a teaspoon of salt, the garlic cloves, a wedge of lemon and the bay leaf, if using. Bring the water to a boil.
While the water is heating, wash the artichokes and cut off the tops (1/2" to 1" is usually sufficient). Cut off the stems flush with the bottoms so that the artichokes have flat bases. Peel off any bottom or exterior leaves that you think are too thick and tough. If you like, use scissors to trim off the prickly-tips of the exterior leaves.
Place the artichokes in a steamer basket over the boiling water and cover the pot. Steam the artichokes until tender – up to an hour with a conventional pot, or 20 to 30 minutes with a pressure cooker. Exactly how long will depend on the size of the artichokes.
Remove the artichokes, place upright on a plate, and serve with your choice of dips for the leaves.