How to Prepare Artichokes Like an Italian

Artichokes are an intriguing and delicious ingredient.  But for many of us, when it comes to the thought of preparing and cooking them, they can be intimidating.

Even for those of us who adore artichokes, many of us resign to only ever eating them in a risotto or atop of pizza, ordered in a restaurant.  There is a common thought that preparing artichokes is difficult and time consuming, not only to prepare, but also to cook… Nothing could be further from the truth.

To prepare artichokes, all you need to do is:

  1. Remove the outer leaves, which are tough.
  2. Peel the base and stem- because the outer layer is bitter.
  3. Cut off the top to remove the bulk of inedible leaves and the spikes at the top of each leaf.  You can cook them whole like this, such as by steaming them for half an hour.  The outer leaves aren’t edible, but they will have meat at the bottom of each leaf that you can scrape off with your teeth, delicious!  You will just have to scoop out the fuzzy choke once you get to it, and leave it aside.
  4. If you only want the edible parts attached, continue to remove all of the outer leaves, until you get to the smaller, yellow edible leaves.  Then you can leave them whole, or half them, scoop out the choke and cut or slice them as you need (see video).

You can place the artichokes in water with lemon juice to stop them from turning brown.  In the video, Loredana slices up the artichokes to put inside an artichoke and mozzarella lasagne.  What I found interesting, is that she used flour in the water instead of lemon.  She did this because she didn’t want the flavor of the lemon in the lasagne.  The flour, just like lemon, keeps the artichokes from turning brown!  The water might look brown, but the artichokes won’t be.

Buon Appetito!

Katri Pagliaro
Italian Provincial Tours

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