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How to survive preparing Globe Artichoke

by Trish on August 28th, 2012

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Globe artichoke, not to be confused with Jerusalem or any other type of artichoke, is a small, alien being that will fight you every step of the way as you attempt to dismember it.  At the end of this grueling and painful process, once you are covered in plasters and committed to never ever bothering again, you are rewarded with dinner that tastes like heaven and you may do a quick about-turn, decide the preparation wasn’t so bad after all and then wonder how soon you can go out to buy another one.

Knowing what to do and in what order can help a lot when tackling one of these beings.  I hope the explanation below will be of assistance.

IMG_0156 Holding the artichoke by the stalk, use the scissors to chop the spiky ends off the leaves leaving them cut flat across – imagine you’re cutting toenails.  When the leaves get smaller near the top of the artichoke, ignore those because you’re going to cut the pointy end off anyway.
IMG_0157 Chop the pointed end off completely; this should reveal a centre with purple leaves.  You’ll need to pull all of these leaves out, which is tricky because they’re stuck in with superglue and have spikes that want to hurt your fingers.  Maybe bet someone they can’t get them out in under a minute … “Your minute’s not up yet…. no, not now either, keep going!”
IMG_0159 Your next challenge, hiding underneath the purple leaves is a load of spiky hair, which you can dig out by being vigorous with a metal spoon.  Remember to scrape it all off – it’s not edible.
IMG_0160 Stop digging when you hit hard ground – you have reached the heart of the artichoke.  It gets a lot easier from here.
IMG_0161 Place artichoke into a large pan of boiling water with a squeeze of lemon.  If you’re looking to save water, boil it in the same water you used to prevent it from browning.  Boil for about 35 minutes.  When you’re done, the water will have turned dark green – no need to be alarmed.

Drain upside down and serve drizzled with oil or with vegan spread / butter or margarine equivalent.
Eat by peeling off outer leaves, dipping into whatever you’ve put in the centre and then stripping the leaves with your teeth.  You can eat the heart as well – if you’ve prepared and  cooked it, you deserve the best bit.

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