When I first encountered artichokes, they were almost always in the form of spinach-artichoke dip. Until several months ago, when I decided to start incorporating them in (much healthier) dinners, I had no idea how to prepare an artichoke, let alone eat one.
The first time I decided to cook with artichokes at home, I bought whole artichokes for the recipe, neglecting to read that the recipe called for not whole artichokes, but artichoke hearts (that is, the yummy center of the artichoke at the very bottom of the leafy structure). Had I used whole artichokes for that recipe, we’d have been chewing ‘til kingdom come on the tough leaves instead of the soft, flavorful hearts.
But instead of throwing away perfectly good whole artichokes, I did some research and learned how to roast and eat them – leaves, heart and all. Let me tell you, there is nothing like eating a whole artichoke. The leaves are moist and tender once roasted, and the heart is by far the most delicious part of the entire process and totally worth the effort.
The method of roasting and eating whole artichokes is really simple. First:
Take a clean, whole artichoke and chop off the top 1-2 inches and the bottom stem. The top part of the artichoke is inedible, and cutting off the stem gives you a good base for preparing and eating the artichokes.
Next, take a large square of aluminum foil and spread about 1 tbsp olive oil on it. Place the artichoke in the center of the foil and pull apart the leaves slightly. Tuck either whole garlic cloves or minced garlic in the leaves, then drizzle the top with some lemon juice and a little more olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Wrap the entire artichoke in the foil and bake in a shallow pan (to catch any potential drippings) at 425 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, depending on the size of the artichoke.
Unwrap the roasted artichoke and, using your fingers, pull off each leaf and scrape the meaty bits off the flat edge with your teeth (the pointed edge is sharp and inedible – use that as your grasping point). Some people dip the leaves in mayonnaise for extra flavor.
Once you get through all the leaves, you’ll be left with the heart. Scrape the hairy-looking top off with a fork to expose the heart. Then, scoop out the meaty part off the base and eat it. Isn’t it delicious?
And there you have it! Roasting and eating whole artichokes is easy – and that’s how to do it.
Stephanie (aka Girl versus Dough) joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!