By Catherine Newman
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Makes: 1 serving
Total carbohydrates: 13 grams per serving
Have you ever cooked and eaten an artichoke? If not, you’re in for a treat (assuming you like artichokes). Because while it’s true that if melted butter were involved, I would probably eat a sandal dipped in it, there is something so delicious about this giant greenish-gray alien vegetable. And yes, you’ve maybe read that they should be properly steamed, roasted, stuffed, or grilled. But I’m a fan of simple boiling them in salted water, which both amplifies their tender sweetness and seasons them perfectly all the way through. Try it! (Also, I’m not going on and on about how loaded they are with fiber and antioxidants – but I could.)
If you’re looking to:
Lower the carbs: Serve each person ½ an artichoke. (Cut it with a sharp knife before cooking and check for doneness at 25 minutes.)
Lower the fat: Serve the artichokes with vinaigrette instead of melted butter.
Lower the salt: Add less salt to the water.
1 artichoke per person
2 – 3 tablespoons melted butter per person
Heavily salt a large pot of water – it should actually taste a bit salty, since this is the main way you’re seasoning the artichokes – and bring it to a boil over high heat.
While waiting for the water to boil, use a serrated knife to saw off the top inch of the artichokes and trim the bottom off of the stem, then use a pair of kitchen scissors (or, let’s be honest, regular scissors) to snip the pointy top off of each visible leaf. Because artichokes are in the thistle family, there are actual thorny points on the leaves that can poke you unpleasantly while you’re eating.
Put the artichokes in the boiling water, cover the pot, turn the heat down, and cook at a gentle boil until a leaf pulls out very easily when you tug it with a pair of tongs. This will likely take around 45 minutes (or an hour for really massive ones). If at some point the water has boiled away excessively, add an extra cup or 2 and turn the heat back up until it’s boiling again.
Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander for 5 minutes or so, then serve with melted butter, livened up, if you like, with a squeeze of lemon.
To eat the artichoke, pull off a leaf, dip the bottom in butter, and the scrape the meaty part off with your bottom teeth. When you’ve done this all the way down to the teeny-tiny papery little baby leaves, you’ll see the fuzzy choke. Use a spoon to scrape it out, and then you’ll be left with the edible, delicious bottom of the artichoke (also known as the heart) along with the stem, all of which you can slice or pull into pieces, dip in butter, and eat. (Or Google “How to eat an artichoke” and watch a video like this one!)