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Artichoke help [moved from General Chowhounding]

I've never cooked artichoke before. I finally found some and cooked it yesterday, and it was ... terrible :(

I followed a half-remembered recipe from a TV program;
(this is for the heart btw) Cut off the stalk and the leaves (I know, I know), chop the top 3rd of the artichoke off, slice in half longways, then remove the choke.

These ones are giants, so I cut them into 8 pieces, and then fried them in oliveoil and balsamic vinegar. I made up the cooking method, but I know they can be pan fried.

So I take them out as they're golden brown, and they're like, too firm or something. And I didn't like the taste. I like them when you buy them in a marinade or from a jar, so surely I must be doing something wrong?!

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  1. Large artichokes take a long time to cook and tenderize. Use baby artichokes for frying, and if you must, parboil larger ones first. I prefer steaming globe chokes for 45 min or until tender.

    1. you might want to review this thread from earlier in the year. I agree with Passadumkeg, gotta steam them, especially if they are large.


      1. Thanks a lot both of you, that makes a lot of sense (although thinking about it, cutting the artichoke heart into smaller pieces should have have enabled frying). I'll try this today/tomorrow and keep my fingers crossed :D

        2 Replies
        1. re: Soop

          soop, it is also that the fibrous texture has grown coarser with age/size. so cutting into smaller pieces doesn't solve the entire problem, but longer cooking will.

          1. re: Soop

            The leaves on the larger artichokes are just too tough to cook by just a quick fry, no matter how small you cut them. I don't think that's really a good method for a nice big artichoke. You'll be much better off just steaming and scraping the leaves with your teeth as you eat.

          2. I have never cut large artichokes. I just boil mine for about 40 mins with some lemon juice and no salt. I heard salt stopped them from softening.

            1. No need to go to so much trouble. Just cut off the last 1/8" of the stalk (the stalk is edible) and pull off the small, tough leaves at the base of the artichoke. Bring water to boil, add a slice of lemon, add artichokes and simmer uncovered, rolling over now and then, until a knife in the center goes in easily, 30-45 minutes depending on the size. Serve with melted butter and lemon juice, or vinaigrette.

              With the very small artichokes that you can find earlier in the season, do the same but cut off the tops, quarter, and saute then add some water or white wine, cover and steam til tender.

              1. For sautéed hearts, I agree with steaming or par boiling first. Another trick ... before trimming and cutting, hold the artichoke like a ball with the stem passing trough your fingers and give a few whacks straight down on the counter. This opens it up a little and it cooks better. I especially do this for whole artichokes which I cook standing straight up in a covered pot in an inch of water until leaves separate easily (make sure water dosen't boil off). Then just peel, dip in butter and lemon or olive oil and eat ... or stuff and bake them. Yum. When trimming, I like to cut top leaves individually with a scissor and snap bottom leaves.

                1. This reminds me of the time my boyfriend tried to steam a head of broccoli for 45 minutes, because artichokes that size took about that long. It didn't end well for the poor broccoli.

                  My favorite method for artichokes is to cut a 1/2 inch slice out of the center of an onion. Pop out the center-most rings and place the outer ones on the bottom of a large stockpot. Cut the stem off the artichoke and balance it (stem stump down) on the onion ring. Add an inch of water and turn the heat up to high. Let it steam for 30-45 minutes, depending on size. It's ready when you can pull off a leaf without much effort (like a pineapple!)

                  1. I'm a northern California native, and have been eaten these bad boys for almost 60 years. Large artichokes are not meant to be fried; they are steamed. They will never get tender enough to eat the whole thing, no matter how long you cook them. They are wonderful steamed, ends dunked in a tasty sauce, and meaty ends scraped through the teeth.

                    Baby artichokes are a myth. The tiny artichokes that you can eat whole (fried, or otherwise) simply grow lower on the plant than their beefier brothers. These tiny chokes are hard to find outside of California. There are a few growers who sell them online, in season.

                    1. Folks, try this! I microwave my 'chokes!
                      Trim some off the stem (to get to green), and if you like, cut some off the top and pull off useless small bottom leaves; only allowing meaty leaves to remain. Rinse it with water. There might be critters down in there...
                      Stand the 'choke in a half-filled coffee cup of water, stem down. I sprinkle the top with salt or any seasoning I want. A regular, cylindrical coffee cup supports the 'choke perfectly. Cover with plastic wrap. I drape this over the top and tuck it in under the cup.

                      Now nuke it! YTMV Depending on the size of the 'choke, and the power of the microwave, it can take from four to ten minutes. That's for one or two 'chokes. Beats steaming for 45 minutes! BTW, I have done this for years....

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Scargod

                        Exactly. I've now been having artichokes weekly after the thread a couple of months ago regarding nuking artichokes. Like S god, I top, skin and trim the stem, and remove the tough leaves, rinse and microave. I just put the choke in a deep glass dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap, and zap on high for four-and-a-half minutes.

                      2. i love the idea of nuking the chokes! thanks scargod and sam!