Trim the sharp edges of the leaves and the end of the stem; peel the stem. Cook in salted, boiling water until tender, or in a steamer above boiling water about 30 – 50 minutes depending on size and freshness. Test for doneness by pulling on a leaf—if it doesn’t come out easily, it’s not ready. You can also test it by piercing the stem with a knife.
Serve with a small bowl of melted butter mixed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Or your favorite vinaigrette.
Raw Artichoke and Parmesan Salad (Serves six)
Baby artichokes–the secondary, smaller buds growing on lower stems– in mid-summer make a delicious Roman salad.
6 small globe or 12 baby artichokes
¼ pound chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved into thin ribbons (you can use a vegetable peeler)
¼ cup olive oil
three lemons (one juiced, one cut in half, one zested and then juiced)
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1- 2 tsp minced shallot (optional)
Squeeze one lemon into enough cool water to cover sliced artichokes. Remove tough outer leaves, cut off the sharp tops and stems; peel the stems. Cut small ones half and larger artichokes in quarters; with a knife remove the fuzzy choke; rub the cut sides with a lemon half. Slice as thinly as possible into shreds and plunge into the lemon water.
When ready to serve, mix together the juice of a lemon, olive oil and shallot with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the artichoke shreds and pat dry; toss with the dressing. Arrange on a serving plate, top with the parmesan and zest. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
For more information on artichokes, including links to videos on cooking artichokes, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artichoke.