How to Cook Artichokes
How to cook perfect artichokes every time.
There are few things more delicious than a perfectly-cooked artichoke. This unique vegetable’s culinary delights are twofold-- not only do you get to enjoy the delicious, meaty bite at the end of their leaves, but once it’s been plucked clean, the artichoke yields its arguably most delicious treat: the savory, buttery heart. The artichoke is an incredibly versatile vegetable in this way, perfect as a simple appetizer when paired with a nice, cream-based dipping sauce or as an ingredient which adds depth of flavor and a rich texture to an array of dishes including pastas, pizzas, and much more. That said, the artichoke’s unique texture and look can make it intimidating to prepare at home for many home chefs. However, it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re steaming, boiling or grilling artichokes, with the right tips and a little preparation, you’re just a few minutes away from a perfectly cooked artichoke every time.
Table of contents
- How to Steam an Artichoke
- How to Boil an Artichoke
- How to Grill an Artichoke
- How to Roast an Artichoke
- How to Serve Artichokes
When picking an artichoke at the market, there are a few characteristics you should look out for to ensure peak freshness. Make sure the artichoke feels relatively heavy in your hand-- a light artichoke is often a sign the vegetable has dried up in the middle. Ensure the artichoke’s leaves are tightly closed as well, as the longer it sits the more the artichoke’s leaves will open up. Giving your artichoke a soft squeeze, as well, is a great way to gauge freshness. If it makes a slight squeaking noise, that’s usually a good indication of freshness.
After you’ve bought your artichoke, you’re going to want to cut off the rough upper section before cooking, as all the artichoke’s yumminess is located on the bottom quadrant. Using a large knife, simply cut off the approximately the top inch of the vegetable. Next, you’re going to want to remove the whole of the stem, which you can do either with a sturdy knife or kitchen shears. Finally, you’ll want to trim the pointy ends of the artichoke leaves, which is easiest with kitchen shears.
How to Steam an Artichoke
Steaming is one of the simplest ways to cook artichokes. Simply bring about 2-3 inches of water to a boil, and place 1-2 artichokes facedown in your steamer basket. Feel free to add other ingredients into the steamer basket to add flavor, such as lemons, garlic, rosemary or other herbs. Cover with a lid and let your artichokes steam for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until the leaves pull off easily and the heart feels tender.
How to Boil an Artichoke
Boiling is another super simple, failsafe way to cook artichokes at home. Simply fill your pot approximately halfway with water and set it to high heat. Once it reaches a rolling boil, you’ll place the artichokes in the pot face-side down (stem-side up), as you do when steaming artichokes, and turn the heat down, until the water falls from a boil to a simmer. Feel free to throw in some lemon slices into the water as well at this point, which will help imbue the finished vegetables with a fresh, subtle citrus flavor. When boiling artichokes, it’s important to keep them entirely submerged during the whole cooking process. You can achieve this by placing a lid that’s smaller than your pot on top of the artichokes to weigh them down, or you can even put a dish on top of them
How to Grill an Artichoke
Grilling isn’t as common a cooking method for artichokes as boiling or steaming, but it’s a delicious way to enjoy the vegetable and imbue it with some unique, smoky flavor. The secret when it comes to grilling artichokes is to steam them first, doing almost all of the vegetables’ cooking in the steam basket to ensure they cook evenly, then just finishing them off on the grill to gain that delicious grilled flavor and char.
We recommend steaming them for about 10 minutes less than you normally would, so approximately 20 minutes for 1-2 artichokes, or until the artichokes feel tender but the leaves don’t easily pull away. Once the artichokes have finished that steaming process, cut each artichoke in half, as you’ll need the flat surface in order for the artichokes to grill properly. Next, you’ll want to prepare your grill at high heat, and rub the grill with olive oil to ensure the vegetables don’t stick onto the grill. Place the artichoke halves on the grill cut-side-down, and grill for around 5-10 minutes or until the artichokes have a nice grill mark.
How to Roast an Artichoke
Roasting artichokes in the oven might take a bit more preparation time than steaming or boiling, however the results are well worth it. Oven-roasting artichokes allows for more complex flavors of the artichoke to develop, yielding an earthy, deliciously savory flavor and a creamier consistency than any other cooking method.
Once you’ve prepped and cleaned your artichoke, you’re going to want to cut it in half, then submerge them in a bit of lemon water to ensure they’ll stay moist in the oven. Remove the artichokes halves from the water, ensuring they’re still moist but not dripping wet, and place them in a shallow baking dis. Next, drizzle the artichokes with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and any herbs you might wish to add. Rosemary pairs especially well with artichokes. Rub the olive oil and seasoning into the artichokes, ensuring both sides as well as the interior of the leaves are a bit coated with the oil, which will add flavor and help ensure the artichokes don’t burn. Place the artichokes cut-side down, cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil, and place them in the oven at 475ºF. Roast for around 25-30 minutes, or until the cut-sides have a brown sear and the heart is tender when pierced with a fork.
How to Serve Artichokes
Artichokes are delicious simply seasoned with some olive oil, salt and pepper, or with a squeeze of fresh lemon, but their rich flavor and meaty texture also pairs beautifully with heavier accompaniments. One of the most classic artichoke dips is aioli, a French sauce akin to mayonnaise that you can easily make at home by quickly whisking or blending together olive oil, egg yolks and lemon together. Click here for the recipe. And if you’re low on time, simple store-bought mayonnaise or sour cream also does the trick for a delicious artichoke dip.
Whether you steaming, boiling, grilling or roasting, artichokes are the perfect vegetable for home cooking.