Alright--we've discussed the best way to cook corn, how 'bout artichokes?

Ok, I’m currently trying the “Nero Wolfe” method of cooking corn, it has 35 minutes to go. We’ll see if he’s right. But I also have some artichokes to prepare and tied with corn for best veggie ever, is the thistley artichoke. To paraphrase a Cecil column, when they’re bad, they’re yukky, but when they’re good, they’re celestial.

I’ve tried boiling 'em and they turn out soggy unless I happen to yank 'em out of the water at just the right moment–and that moment seems to vary a LOT. Anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes of solid boiling to get the base part of the leaves soft enough to scrape clean with my teeth. (Yes, I know you don’t actually eat the leaves)

Steaming takes forever and again, there’s that split-second threshhold between sublime and soggy.

Roasting I’ve only tried once with so-so results–came out kinda leathery.

Also, I’m a big fan of using butter as a dipping sauce, occassionally with a little lemon or garlic added. David Rosengarten (I think) recommended mayonayse which sounds revolting to me, and my best friend insists on (gag, barf, retch) Skippy peanut-butter-flavored product.

So…cooking tips and dipping suggestions?


Steaming is THE way…and dipping can only be done in pure, unadulterated Hellman’s mayo…don’t let yourself be swayed by any heretical “alternatives”. :wink:

The key to a good steaming is getting a 'choke with nice and tight leaves (sadly hard to do, imho, in most grocery stores I’ve encountered outside the state of California, but I just found some nice ones at my Kroger this very evening! :smiley: ). This allows you to use the leaves themeselves as the indicator of when the 'chokes are done steaming. The tightest bunched leaves at the top relax their grip leaving gaps about 1/16 - 1/8th of an inch.


I’ve got my artichoke steaming. 'bout how long do you think it’ll take (20 minutes? 2 hours?) Just a ballpark figure would be great if you could, please.

Also, I’m gonna try the dreaded mayo idea (it’s “Best Foods” which is the same as Hellman’s without the nifty name–there’s a national dividing line where it’s one or the other). Do I heat the stuff? Melt the mayo? Or use it cold. I gotta say, I’m dubious, but I’ll trust ya. :wink:

I called for reinforcements just in case, and my grandma says 20-25 minutes. Another gauge to use to avoid too chewy vs too mushy is to err on the side of being a little overcooked and wait untill the outermost leaves can be removed from the stem with the gentlest of tugs. Not falling off on their own, but with just a gentle tug.

Spoon some cold mayo into a small bowl and have at it.

I’m assuming you don’t need any guidance about how to continue eating the innermost leaves and the heart after you’ve worked through the outer layers…let me know if I’m wrong, though I’ve never attempted such instruction without actually sitting at the table with the audience, 'choke in hand…

Nope–I can eat it just fine…it’s just cooking that’s a bit problematic.

It’s taking longer than 25 minutes though–I just yanked a second or third tier leaf out (with some effort) and it was still leathery. Maybe 10 minutes more.
Thanks for the input and it’s nice to talk to a fellow artichoke fan! :smiley:

When I steam them it usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes more for the big juicy ones. On the otherhand I’ve lived at 5000-8000 feet so my steam isn’t quite as hot.

And clarified butter thank you.

All this talk about dipping steamed artichokes in mayonnaise makes me weep for the souls of my beloved grandmother, and my dear departed Aunt Jessie. I can just about hear the both of these q-tipped women spinning in their graves.

The ONLY way to prepare an artichoke is to stuff it with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic, stem, pepper, salt, a bit of mint, and some olive oil, then cook them in a pressure cooker. Sadly, I forget the exact recipe and procedure (ever hear of a 15 year old boy pay close attention when his grandmother tried to teach him how to cook?), but all this talk about dipping it in mayo is…well…to each his own, I guess. But know that your own is just wrong. :smiley:

This looks close enough for government work.

WolfmanThat would do it–I’m at ~6000 feet.I didn’t consider the altitude! Took about 45-50 minutes to steam.

I tried the mayo and it was…ok. I’m glad I tried it, but I think I’ll be sticking with lemon butter in the future.


My handy tip–Turn 'em upside down when you steam them. It seems to take a lot less time that way. But even upside down and at sea level, they take a half hour or more.

Definite artichoke fan here. When I boil one, it takes around 30 minutes, so I assume steaming would take longer.

Actually, due to the size of the pot I have for it, I can’t really cover it with water, so it’s half full and lid closed, so I presume some of it is getting the steam treatment.

Anyways, I’m with you – I dip in melted butter mixed with lemon juice. Mayo sounds like too much. I’ll take my lemon butter. MMMmmmmmmmmmmm… artichoke…