Here is one of the ways we like to cook artichokes.
Firstly, there are two implements essential for consuming this dish - namely
two maxillary central incisors - the two top front teeth. When eating
artichokes, the flesh is scraped from the leaf by means of these implements.
That means it is a particularly useful dish if you want to annoy a dentally
challenged father in law or frustrate an annoying younger brother who is waiting
for his second teeth to fully emerge.
To prepare the artichokes (one large artichoke per person will be sufficient
for a starter or side dish) peel off the tough outer leaves, chop off the spiky
top and all but the top part of the stalk. Peel the remaining stalk with a
potato peeler to remove the tough outer layer.
At this stage you can decide to keep on removing leaves until you get to the
softer meatier ones, or you can let your guests sort that out for themselves
after they are cooked. After all, the tougher outer ones still form little
spoons for scooping up the juices in the bottom of the bowl.
Now it is time to bisect and dechoke (they re technical terms used by
practised chefs such as ourselves - for the rest you that means cut the
artichoke in half down the middle and scoop out the fibrous heart or choke .)
If the artichokes are young and small you may not need to do this. Bisect again
meaning we know have - yes, you up the back - very good - quarters. Rub each of
the quarters with lemon and throw the quartered artichokes and lemon into a bowl
of water while you get on with the rest of the show.
Now it is time for the flavourings. Serving artichokes are a bit like serving
mussels - the cooking juices are half the point of the dish. Choose a large
ovenproof dish that can also be used on the stovetop. You can choose your own
flavourings but depending on what s to hand we prefer to briefly saut some
finely sliced garlic in oil then add plenty of lemon juice, bay leaves, olives,
the drained artichokes and lemon pieces some soft herbs such as thyme and
parsley and bring to a simmer for a while before transferring to the oven
(medium heat, about 45 minutes or when some of the leaves are starting to
Remove and let cool until luke-warm then season with freshly ground pepper
and good salt flakes. You might also like Parmesan cheese but we find that a bit
We like to serve with thin slices of prosciutto on the side and, of course,
crusty bread - that way father in law and annoying little brother at least get
something to eat.