Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

How To Cook An Artichoke

Posted on May 13, 2010


So, you’ve never cooked an artichoke before, and you want to give it a try? Are you sure you want to do that? I mean, yes, artichokes can be delicious. But, cooking them is a huge pain is the ass. It’s a ton of work for very little edible results. Still want to give it a go? You’re that stubborn? Well, alright, let’s do this.

Step 1. You’ll need a pair of cooking sheers. Look in the busted kitchen drawer. They’ll be lodged under the egg beater, so it’ll take awhile. Why do you need scissors? Because, artichokes have thorns on every leaf. That’s right; you are about to eat something that doesn’t want to be eaten. So much so, it grew thorns.

Step 2. After trimming off the tips of each leaf (because of the thorns that can draw blood if you’re not careful), you’ll want to… What? You’re not done cutting the thorns off one at a time? Okay, we’ll wait.

Ready now? No?

How about now? Sure, I understand; it’s tedious. Alright, after all that, slice a half inch off the tip of the artichoke. Good luck.

Step 3. Trim and remove all but an inch off of the stem. The stem is technically edible, but it’s tough and sometimes bitter. Again, probably because artichokes don’t want to be eaten. Have you noticed the word “choke” in the name? That’s not a coincidence.

Step 4. Rinse off the dirt. You won’t get all off it, because there will be some trapped between the leaves. But, take your time and try. It’s only been what? A half hour of prep time so far?

Step 5. Fill a large pot with two inches of water, and place a vegetable steamer inside. Your son or boyfriend may have used the steamer as a pretend “satellite dish,” so check the roof of his fort. Bring the water to a boil.

Step 6. Steam the artichokes for 45 minutes. Oh, you read that right. 45 minutes. You probably shouldn’t have started cooking the rest of dinner already, because these artichokes are gonna hold things up.

Keep checking back on the pot to make sure the water hasn’t boiled away. I’ve ruined like four pots trying to cook stupid artichokes. Now, I buy cheap pots at TJ Maxx, expecting that they’ll get destroyed at some point.

Step 7. You’ll know the artichokes are done when the outer leaves are easy to peel off. Careful checking, because it’ll be hot and may still have sharp thorns that you missed. I wouldn't blame you if you had given up halfway through trimming the leaves.

Step 8. After they’ve cooled a bit, peel off the leaves and dip them in melted butter. But, here’s the thing: You don’t eat the whole leaf. You just scrape the tiniest bit of edible artichoke flesh off the base of each leaf with your teeth. I know, right? All that work for that? Really, it’s just a conduit for melted butter. You could have just melted butter and taken a sip.

You know what else tastes good with melted butter? Everything. Every single thing tastes good with melted butter. Asparagus—that tastes good with melted butter. Broccoli—also good with melted butter. Brussel sprouts—they smell like pee, but even they taste good with melted butter. You don’t even have to melt butter. Regular butter tastes good, too.

Step 9. Alright, there’s some other stuff after you’re done eating the leaves. Like, you can scrape out the fibrous “choke,” which will make your kitchen look like a squirrel exploded. And, somewhere underneath that is an artichoke heart.

But, honestly, it’s late, and I’m super tired. And, I didn’t even want to write this recipe out, anyway. Because, why should I help you with your masochistic impulses? You could have just bought a can of artichoke hearts at the grocery store. Done and done.

I’m going to bed. Good luck with your damn artichokes.

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