Whoever figured out how to cook and eat an artichoke is a genius. It just might be the most delectable edible flower there is.
Sure, canned artichoke hearts make a yummy pizza or salad topping. But oh, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten the whole shebang. Yes, every last succulent petal can put you one step closer to transcendence—and once you’ve learned how to get past the spiny choke, to the heart, it’s pure nirvana.
Are you convinced yet that you should celebrate National Artichoke Hearts Day by taking on this seemingly Herculean culinary feat? Well, you’re in luck, because it’s actually one of the easiest recipes you can master. Here’s how.
First, choose a nice, big globe artichoke that’s still closed. Ones that appear to be a little bit frostbitten (with some grayish tones) will be even more tender, despite their aged looks. Artichokes have very little “meat” in them, so if you’re cooking for two, feel free to grab another—because they’re that good.
Slice off about an inch off the top, as well as the stem. With scissors, snip off the pointy ends of each petal. Rinse in cold water, opening up the artichoke a bit to cleanse throughout.
Sprinkle some olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt into the petals.
Add a couple inches of water into a large pot. Insert a steam basket and place artichoke in it upside down. Cover, boil, and reduce to a simmer for 25 to 30 minutes depending on the size. You’ll know it’s perfectly cooked if a knife glides easily into the stem.
In the meantime, whip up an easy garlic butter sauce that pairs wonderfully with this dish. Chop 1 to 2 cloves garlic, and sauté for a minute or two in a little bit of olive oil. Once golden, add 3 tablespoons butter or ghee and melt while stirring. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Done. Or, try a killer chipotle mayo sauce instead.
Pull off outer petals, one at a time. Dip the white fleshy end into garlic butter, bite down onto it, scrape the flesh with your teeth, and savor. Discard each one. Once you finish the green petals, you’ll reach a layer of thin, translucent ones—these are edible, but some can be sharp and spiny so be careful. Pull them out and discard if you’d like to fast forward to the good part.
To get there, you’ve got to penetrate the fuzzy, inedible obstacle: the choke. With a knife or spoon, scrape out these fibers to reveal the piece de resistance of the whole flower: the meaty artichoke heart. Trust us, the delicate taste, the luscious texture—it’s worth all the effort. You can slice and fry it or throw it on a pizza or salad—but our No. 1 favorite way to eat it is as is!