If you’ve never eaten a fresh artichoke, you’re missing out! To me, they taste nothing like their flavored jarred, canned or frozen counterparts. Once the choke (hairy part on the inside) is removed, the heart is a mini-meal in itself. It is rich and creamy and dense. Dipping it in simple lemon butter is my favorite method of eating the heart. It’s so easy!
Artichokes are full of health benefits. Quoting The Silver Spoon, “Artichokes are rich in iron, phosphorus, and calcium, and their considerable fiber content makes them useful for the digestive system. They have another beneficial effect on the digestion because they contain cynarine, a substance which stimulates bile production.” It has a positive effect on the liver. It’s high in folic acid and magnesium. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know folic acid is extremely important in the healthy grown of your little one. A large artichoke has about 60 calories and 6 grams of fiber. With only 60 calories, I say, go ahead and dip in that lemon butter!
I based my recipe out of The Silver Spoon cookbook. If you are looking to find a great Italian cookbook, this is it! According to the cover, it’s Italy’s best selling cookbook for over 50 years. Just flipping through it will make you drool.
- Remove outer leaves until more tender leaves show, cut stem to roughly 1 1/2 inches, remove tips (I just cut some off the top with the type of artichoke I bought)
- Open up leaves and scoop out inner choke (or, you may just cook with the choke and remove it after eating the leaves before eating the heart)
- Using fairly tall pan, put in artichokes, stem on the bottom try to stand up, then add water and olive oil until artichokes 2/3rds covered. You may just use water if you prefer. I threw a garlic clove in there whole as well and added salt.
- Cover and cook over low 30 minutes
To eat, melt some butter and squeeze in fresh lemon. Make sure you have a bowl for disposal of leaves/choke. One by one, dip leaves into lemon butter and then scrape bottom of leaves with teeth. The edible portion will come off naturally. When you get close to the inside and the leaves get super-tender, discard those and chow down on your heart! The stem is edible as well with the heart but if it’s bitter- cut it off. You wouldn’t want to ruin that melt in your mouth flavor of the artichoke heart!
My 21 month old thought it was so fun to rip off the leaves, dip them in butter, and then discard them. I guess he’s not quite ready to actually eat them yet. I fondly remember getting so excited when my mom made artichokes as a kid. I hope my kid eventually feels the same way.