How to Eat an Artichoke

Globe artichokes - photo by Sarah

I talked with Diane Eblin today from The Whole Gang.  We had a great little chat and had some laughs about the discoveries we make in the kitchen.  We both agreed it takes a little adventure to delve into cooking some unknown or unusual foods.  But I think we would agree that this is where we have fun and discover new and delicious foods to enjoy.

This week at The Whole Gang for the Friday Foodie Fix, the food is artichokes.  This is giving me a great opportunity to get back into blogging, which if you haven’ noticed, has fallen by the wayside during the past couple of months during our move and transition to Frederick. Thanks Diane for the inspiration!

I will start by saying that artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables for a few reasons.  I love the taste of them, especially the hearts.  I love them on pizza, in salads, in pasta, in dips and other wonderful dishes.

But another reason I enjoy them is they take a long time to savor.  You eat each leaf, one at a time, hopefully with a yummy Hollandaise sauce, or just mayo if you like it.  It isn’t a vegetable you can prepare or even enjoy in a haste.  It almost beckons you to sit down, rest and enjoy each morsel of its tastiness.  I am lucky enough to have memories of enjoying artichokes at home with my family.  Other people I talk to, including Diane, didn’t have the experience as a child of learning how to cook this delicious vegetable or to enjoy one fresh.

But even if you’ve never tried cooking an artichoke, I will tell you right now, it is very easy!!!  Of course there are more complicated ways of cooking them, but if you’ve never done this before, just try steaming them.  Please see the recipe below for more instructions, plus a dairy-free Hollandaise sauce.

And lastly, an artichoke has a HEART and it also has the word ART in it – two of my favorite things!

Following is a poem I wrote over ten years ago, so you can see I’ve been thinking about artichokes for sometime now!

Eating an Artichoke

First, you gotta steam it so that you can even eat it;
This takes a while and you gotta be patient.

Once it’s tender, you can peel away the leaves, and eat them.
This is very nice and very different from eating any other kind of vegetable.
You peel and peel and savor and enjoy.

Then, you get to the white fuzz that you have to dig out.
Sometimes this can be a pain.
It can also be messy.
And you usually have to use a spoon or something.

But, once all that fuzz is cleared away, Wow, you can eat the Heart!
And the Heart, in my opinion, is the best part.

But you can’t eat the Heart until you peel and dig and eat away everything else.
But, this makes the Heart of the artichoke all the more wonderful,
And I think you savor it more that way.

Spring 1997

Artichokes with Herbed Hollandaise Sauce
Servings: 4    Prep and cook time: 30-45 min.

4 artichokes (smaller ones cook faster)

Equipment needed:
Very large pot with a lid and a steamer basket at the bottom.

Hollandaise sauce:
4 Tbsp butter, butter substitute or olive oil

¼ cup coconut milk

4 Tbsp soy-free or regular mayo

2 tsp lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

¼ -1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp minced herbs such as parsley or basil (optional)


1. Wash and cut the end of the stems off of the artichokes. You can cut the ends of the leaves off or leave them as is. Steam artichokes in a very large soup pot, 20 minutes for miniature and up to 45 minutes for very large ones.  Test the stem with a fork for tenderness.  Remove from pot.

2. Meanwhile, make the Hollandaise sauce by melting the butter or adding the oil to a small saucepan. Melt it on low heat and then add the coconut milk. Stir until mixed well. Then add the mayo and blend into the coconut-butter mixture. You can use a whisk to do this. Add the salt, lemon juice and minced herbs. Enjoy with the artichokes.

Nutritional info: Per Serving: 301 Calories; 27g Fat (74.3% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 36mg Cholesterol; 585mg Sodium.

I’d love to hear about your adventures in cooking your artichokes, whether this is a new adventure for you or a favorite pasttime!

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  1. I had never thought of steaming them! That’s really a neat idea. I’ll have to give it a whirl. I always add lemon to mine as well. It helps bring out the flavor.

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