Have you ever tried cooking an artichoke? I hadn’t! Until now of course. I used to only buy artichoke hearts at the grocers never thinking twice about cooking it myself. In fact, when I walked by whole raw artichoke I’d look at it in wonderment trying to determine what kind of person would make the time and effort to prepare it themselves. Turns out, that’s me!
And I must admit it took only one attempt to become an advocate for the whole cooked artichoke. They are SO good and SO fun to eat! In fact, eating artichoke reminds me a lot of eating lobster. It’s sort of messy, you’ve got a ton of scraps piled high on your plate to show for it, and you most definitely need a pile of napkins to tuck into the collar of your shirt. Or, better yet an apron sporting a picture of an artichoke head on the front. Anyone know where I can find one of these? The point is you’ve got to work for the benefit, and it’s worth every bite! Like lobster, the inside of an artichoke has a delicious meaty texture too. It may take a little bit of work to get to those meaty ends of the inner leaves, but I promise it’s worth it, and when you dip it in tahini garlic sauce you’re swimming in satiated bliss. And who doesn’t like getting a little messy at dinner? It’s way more fun, you eat slower so dinner lasts longer, and you feel so accomplished afterwards. I’ll take any excuse to for indulging in finger licking foods!
Actually, getting a little messy with my food is something I used to love most about seafood dinners. I loved cracking open those shells of shrimp, or lobster, and trying to find every nook and cranny of meat that I could manipulate out of it. Hand me a pound of mussels and I’d be tossing the empty shells so fast you’d think I grew 8 tentacles. So, I couldn’t be more thrilled to have discovered just how similar eating whole cooked artichoke is to eating seafood. And don’t artichokes sort of look like something that came from the sea? If they were dancing among the coral in a scene from Finding Dory I’d never question it.
I must admit though that the reason it’s taken so long for me to make whole artichoke myself was that it seemed so complicated. It has been on my to do list for years, but always intimidated me. I’d even bought artichokes knowing full well I’d end up pitching them before even google searching how to cook the archaic looking veg. But actually cooking artichoke it quite hands-off. You simply toss them in your steamer with some bay leaf, garlic and lemon in the water below, and steam for 45 minutes to an hour. THAT’S IT! Then when cooked, whip up a quick tahini garlic dipping sauce and dig in! Easy pease lemon squeeze. Turns out it’s the actual eating of the artichoke that’s the messy part, and that’s a-okay with me!
So as a make-your-own artichoke advocate I encourage those at-home gourmands to get messy and give it a go. Enjoy the finger licking feast!