Friday, February 19, 2010

How to Prepare and Cook Artichokes

Okay, so the weekend is coming and hopefully by now, you are a little more familiar with artichokes. And if you have selected some today, now we will provide some tips on how to prepare and cook them.


  • Medium- to Jumbo-Size Artichokes

  • Start by washing the Artichoke under cold, running water.

  • Trim the end of the stem to desired length, such as 1 inch. Remember the stem is an extension of the Artichoke Heart and is edible!

  • Trim the top of the Artichoke by cutting off 1/4 of the top (about an inch) and discard.

  • Use scissors to trim rest of thorns off the top of each Artichoke petal – only if desired. (This is not necessary to have a great eating experience.)

  • To preserve the color, immediately rub any cut surface of the Artichoke with lemon juice to prevent browning caused by oxidation. (Optional)
    How to Cook Artichokes:
    There are many ways to cook an Artichoke. For any of the cooking methods below, prepare the Artichokes first by using the techniques above.

    These tips will increase your enjoyment of Artichokes...
    • To save time, prepare and cook Artichokes the night before planning to serve. Warm up in microwave or conventional oven.
    • After cooking, immediately pull and drain the Artichoke from any liquid you’re cooking it in, so it can “set” before serving.
      Once an Artichoke is cooked and has set for a couple of minutes, cutting Artichokes in half and scooping out the fuzzy choke will be simple.
    • For enhanced flavor, substitute vegetable or chicken stock for water when microwaving, braising or boiling Artichokes.
    • Adding some olive oil and garlic powder or a clove of garlic to the water or broth is another fun option.
    • When a recipe calls for using the Artichoke Heart only as an ingredient, use the leaves for a healthy snack in place of chips.
    Microwaving Artichokes
    Microwaving an Artichoke is the fastest way to cook an Artichoke!
    • Place Artichoke “stem up” in a deep, microwave-safe bowl.
    • Add 1-2 inches of water. Cover bowl with microwavable plate or with plastic wrap.
    • Jumbo sized Artichoke: Cook on high for 12-15 minutes.
    • Medium sized Artichoke: Cook on high for 7-10 minutes.Depending on the size and quantity of Artichokes you are cooking, it may be necessary to heat an additional 1-5 minutes to obtain complete tenderness throughout the Artichoke, as microwave oven cooking times may vary. Keep covered and let the Artichoke stand for 5 minutes prior to serving.
    Steaming Artichokes
    Steaming an Artichoke is the ideal cooking method for maintaining the high-nutrient content for which an Artichoke is known.
    • Arrange Artichokes in a steamer insert, basket, or a special Artichoke holder in a pot deep enough to keep Artichokes above water. Cover and steam over rapid-boiling water (making sure to maintain the water level), until Artichokes are tender. Depending on size and quantity of Artichokes, steaming time can range from 30 to 50 minutes; lift out carefully and drain.
    Grilling Artichokes
    Grilling adds color and a delicious smoked flavor to Artichokes. But Artichokes need to be pre-cooked before grilling.
    • To pre-cook Artichokes, microwave, steam or boil them.
    • Brush cooked Artichokes with olive oil and grill — turning frequently and watching carefully — over hot coals just until nicely browned, or charred to your preference. Option: Cut Artichokes in half before grilling to obtain more of that grilled taste throughout the Artichoke petals.
    Braising Artichokes
    Usually considered a method of meat cookery, braising involves cooking food in seasoned liquid and is a nice way to give Artichokes extra flavor.
    • In a large saucepan or pot, heat a small amount of olive oil, along with any savory ingredients you prefer (herbs, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper).
    • Add about 2 cups of water, cover tightly, heat to boiling.
    • Add Artichokes and cover tightly. Reduce heat and simmer until Artichokes are tender, about 25 to 40 minutes.
    You can also braise in the oven.
    • Brush Artichokes with olive oil and arrange in oven-safe pot or baking dish.
    • Add lemon slices, garlic, salt and pepper, and water as above.
    • Cover tightly with lid or foil and bake in 375°F oven until tender, about 45 minutes.
    • Boil liquid in pan until reduced to about 1/2 cup and use as a sauce for the Artichokes.
    Roasting Artichokes


    • Roasting brings out the nutty flavor of Artichokes and requires the Artichokes to be pre-cooked before roasting
    • Use any preferred method to cook, but reduce the cooking time by amount 10 minutes.
    • Drain well.
    • Brush generously with olive oil or other oil of your choice, including flavored oils.
    • You can be creative! Arrange in roasting pan and roast in 425°F oven until tender and browned, about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size.
      Sautéing Artichokes
      • Place cooked and quartered Artichoke Hearts in a skillet or wok lightly coated with olive oil.
      • Cover and sauté slowly on medium-high heat for about three minutes or until they begin to brown.
      • Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic.
      Deep Frying Artichokes
      • Cut cooked Artichoke Hearts into bite-sized pieces.
      • Dip in beaten egg, then in flour. Or, you can use your preferred choice of batter.
      • Fry in hot oil in skillet or in deep fat fryer at 350°F, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes depending on cooking source.
      Boiling Artichokes
      Boiling Artichokes is a customary way of cooking Artichokes. However, boiling also extracts the most levels of healthy nutrients from the Artichoke when compared to any other cooking method. Hence, it is no longer considered to be the preferred option.
      • Place Artichokes in a full pot of boiling water.
      • Boil for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on size and quantity of Artichokes being cooked. Option: Substitute vegetable or chicken stock for water when boiling Artichokes.
      Re-heating Artichokes
      Artichokes are great for cooking the day before and reheating when ready to serve. For this “time-saving step,” prepare and cook Artichokes the night before.
      • Warm up in microwave or conventional oven as you would with any vegetable to preferred temperature.
      Pressure Cooking Artichokes
      Cooks who use pressure cookers regularly swear by this easy and quick way to cook vegetables.Cooking factors such as style of stove (gas versus electric) and quantity and size of Artichokes will affect the cooking time below. For jumbo-sized Artichokes, add approximately 5 more minutes to the cooking time. You may need to experiment with your pressure cooker to find your perfect cook time and your preferred “doneness” of the Artichoke.
      Ingredients:
      • 4 Medium-sized Artichokes
      • 1 1/2 Cups water
      • 1 Lemon
      • 1 Bulb garlic
      • 1 Teaspoon salt
      • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
      Method:
      • Trim and prepare Artichokes as described above.
      • Squeeze lemon on the fresh-cut Artichokes to retain the Artichoke color.
      • Roll the outside of the Artichokes in the olive oil.
      • Place the Artichokes stem up in the cooker.
      • Pour in the water and salt.
      • Place the lid on and apply the lid lock.
      • Set the cooker to the low-pressure setting.
      • Place on the stove on high; when you hear the pressure being released, turn the stove down to medium; start a timer and cook for 22 minutes.
      • At 22 minutes, turn the dial to the pressure-release symbol.
      • When all of the steam has been released and the pressure indicator drops, unlock the lid and remove; use caution as a lot of steam will be released.
      • Remove the Artichokes and set upside down on a tray to cool.
      • Using a spoon, remove the center (choke) taking care not to cut into the Heart.
      Your Artichokes are ready to stuff, fire roast or simply serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
      Testing for Doneness
      However you decide to cook your Artichoke, it is important to know when it is done. The best way is to use a toothpick or knife to poke the base of the stem to check if the Artichoke is tender all the way through to the Heart. If there is no resistance, it's done and your Artichoke is ready to eat!
      All this information can be found at oceanmist.com. It's a great site that provides such a plethora of artichoke information that you can call yourself an artichoke expert after visiting the site.








    3 comments:

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    2. Awesome! I had no clue that you could steam your artichokes! I have always loved all steamed vegetables but hated artichokes. But now that I have discovered you can steamed them, I am more open to trying them and cooking them. Can you tell me where I could find more information about how to steam different kinds of vegetables?

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    3. Thanks Suzy! Here are some quick sited with some more information...
      http://mideastfood.about.com/od/tipsandtechniques/a/steaming.htm
      http://www.wikihow.com/Steam-Vegetables
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmqfl3mxfK0

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