Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Prepping Artichokes

Braised Artichokes in  a Spanish Cazuela and a Columbian Black Clay Pan

There are some things you can just expect in life. Visitors this summer were most likely served braised artichokes as an appetizer or tapa, or as a side course. One friend came over this summer proudly announcing he had artichokes growing in his garden. But, he didn't know how to cook or eat them.
Let's start with cooking methods. As with many other vegetables, you can steam, boil, roast, grill, bake, or braise artichokes.
Unlike some other vegetables you must carefully prep artichokes before applying heat. Artichokes have sharp outer leaves, fibrous stems, and the choke. They oxidize quickly when cut. But, fear not. take your time, enjoy the journey, know that it will be worth it.
I usually prep and cook four artichokes at t time. Why not? Four artichokes will serve 8 people as a side or as an appetizer.
How beautiful! Start with filling a bowl with cold water and the juice of one lemon. Go ahead, through the juiced lemon rind into the water as well. You have now created acidulated water. The acid from the lemon will keep the artichoke from oxidizing (turning brown).
Once the water is ready, tear one or two layers of the outer leaves off of one of the artichokes. You can compost them, you'll still have plenty of goodness left. (Just don't put the leaves down the garbage disposal of your sink.) Just prep one artichoke at a time. Remember, take your time, enjoy the journey.
With a sharp chef's knife, cut the very top off of the artichoke. (As pictured)
Trim the stem down so that there's only about 1/2 to 1 inch of stem. Using a vegetable peeler, clean up the stem a bit. (As pictured)
Now, it's time to clean out the choke.
Using a paring knife, cut below the hairy looking choke. Cut deep enough that you'll be able to pull the choke and some of the attached smaller leaves out.

Once the choke is removed, get it right into the acidulated water. See how it's already beginning to turn a bit brown? Ready? GO!
You are now ready to steam, braise, roast, bake, or grill your artichokes. My recipe for braised artichokes will soon be on the Ancient Cookware website:
Ready? GO!

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