If your only aquaintance with artichokes consists of a can and the salad bar, then you are seriously missing out. Don’t get me wrong, I love canned artichoke hearts. I like them in many, many things. However, in taste and in texture they are practically a completely different vegetable from a fresh one. Freshly steamed artichokes have a rich, nutty flavor, almost meaty texture, and are super, super filling. To top it off – artichokes are zero point veggies! The only drawbacks are that they are a little labor intensive to clean, take from 30 minutes to an hour to cook, and in some parts of the country can be a little more expensive than other vegetables. The price is based on where you live, because most of the artichokes we eat in this country are grown in and around Castroville, CA (Wikipedia says 75%). And how many of us live near Castroville?
- 2-4 whole artichokes, cleaned (see directions below)
- 1 unpeeled, whole organic lemon – sliced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
To clean artichokes first slice off the stem so you have a flat bottom. Then cut about 1/2 an inch off the top to remove the pokey bits. Cut the pokey tips off the remainer of the leaves with kitchen scissors. Wash thoroughly by running water into top and letting it drain out. Place artichokes bottoms down, side-by-side in a large pot with a tight fitting lid. Fill with water so that water comes about 1/2 way up the sides of the artichokes. Give lemons a little squeeze over the artichokes and drop them in the water. Drizzle artichokes with olive oil. Cover pot and bring to boil over high heat. When water reaches full boil turn down to lowest heat that will still allow water to boil. Boil, covered, for 50 minutes to an hour, until outer leaves pull easily away from the artichoke. To eat pull off leaves one at a time, put the bottom end in your mouth and scrape the soft parts of the leaf off with your teeth. You will eventually work your way down to the heart and bottom of the artichoke. When you see the fuzzy “choke” in the center of the artichoke take a spoon and dig that part out. The remainder of the artichoke and bottom can be eaten with a fork. The bottom is the best part! Each artichoke is 1/2 a point.
- 1 package baby artichokes (usually 12 artichokes)
- 1 large bowl of ice water
- 1 large organic lemon, unpeeled & sliced
Put lemon in ice water and add artichokes one at a time while cleaning. To clean baby artichokes snap leaves off until the artichoke is half yellow/half green. Slice a small amount off the top (to get the pokey bits off) then trim a little bit off the bottom of the stem. As you clean each one put it in the iced lemon water, this will help keep them from browning although they will a little anyway. This is ok. Drain the artichokes and steam 20 minutes in a steamer basket until tender. Entire thing is edible, baby artichokes are picked before the “choke” forms. Serves 2-4 = 0 points per serving.