Let’s prepare artichokes (with pictures)

Okay, I had a few people ask me how to prepare the artichokes for chicken with spring vegetables so here it is.  If you’ve never done this before you might read through this and go, “this seems like a lot of effort to go to for a fucking thistle”, but persevere!  They are wonderful and taste like nothing else and once you’ve done a couple you’ll be able to do each one in about a minute.

What you’ll need

however many artichokes
small paring knife
acidulated water (explained below)

To do this easily and with the best results you really need a SMALL paring knife, the blade on mine is 10cm.  You’ll be able to do it fine with other knives but it will bit a bit more of a fiddle.  try not to use a serrated knife if possible, you’ll get little squirmy discoloured ridges on the cut surfaces.

Small paring knife, cutting board, lemons

First, cut the long stalk to a manageable length, between 6 and 3cm.

Trim the stalk

Snap off the hard outer leaves.

Snap off the hard outer leaves

Stop when you reach the softer inner leaves, you’ll know when you get there because the base of the leaves will be yellow rather then green and purple.

The base of the leaves are yellow rather than green and purple

Trim the base and, if tough, peel stalk a little to even the appearance, rub with lemon. Throughout rub any cut surface with half a lemon, artichokes discolour very quickly so it’s important to work with speed.

Tidy up the base and peel the stalk a little
Rub cut surfaces with lemon - also, remember to remove completely trashed nail polish next time someone is taking photos of your hands

Slice off the top third of the leaves as they are tough, spiky and inedible.

Slice off to third of the leaves

Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise (rub with lemon!).  Using the teaspoon, scrape out the ‘choke’ – white downy fibres at the centre of the globe.

Scrape out the choke using a teaspoon
Downy white fibres

Now slice the artichoke into whatever size you want and throw into a bowl of acidulated water.

Throw in a bowl of acidulated water - I used plain white vinegar

Acidulated water is exactly what it sounds like – water with some kind of acid in it.  Use a ratio of 1 TBS acid (lemon juice, vinegar) to 1 litre water.  To be honest I’ve never found that this works particularly well with artichokes, it’s better just to cook them straight away. Probably a little extra acid would help here. If you’re cooking them in something where the colour doesn’t really matter then don’t stress about it too much, they still taste fucking amazing.

After I’d prepared this one for all you kids I wasn’t sure what to do with it as I hadn’t planned that far but I chucked it in a (different) chicken dish from the Jerusalem cookbook which was utterly delightful.  I’ll write about it soon.

2 thoughts on “Let’s prepare artichokes (with pictures)”

    1. I have eaten them that way but never actually prepared them myself. I don’t know why, they’re so good like that and all you have to do is boil them! They’re still on spesh at La Mana so maybe I’ll get some more and give it a go. I think I’ve always had them with a lemon and olive oil or vinaigrette dipping sauce but melted butter sounds great.
      BTW, I’m totally loving http://inwhichi.weebly.com/

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