We have just been given some wonderful globe artichokes, gown locally in Killinierin by Ciaran O'Sullivan without the use of any synthetic chemicals. At first glance, you might wonder what to do with them, so here is how to cook them and use them as a delicious Summer starter. Call into the shop to collect yours, while they last.
Remove the toughest leaves from close to the base of each artichoke and trim the stem to about 30cm long (or, on good-sized ones, remove the stem completely, so the artichoke will sit flat on its base).
Place in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water with a squeeze of lemon juice, or in a steamer and cook for 15-30 minutes, depending on size and freshness. Just cut artichokes will need less cooking. If you grow your own, you'll find that cooking them within minutes of cutting reduces the cooking time dramatically - to just 7-8 minutes for a small one. An artichoke is cooked when a leaf from the middle pulls away easily and the heart is tender, when pierced with a knife.
To eat, pull off the outer leaves, dipping them in your chosen sauce and scraping away the tender part with your teeth. Work your way down to the tiny, papery leaves near the base, discarding these. Remove the hairy part of the choke with a spoon, then tuck into the delicious heart.
How to serve artichokes:
- Enjoy them simply, with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon to dip the leaves into.
- Make a cheaty hollandaise: melt 150g butter and whisk it, a little at a time, into an egg yolk until it has a loose consistency, like mayonnaise. Whisk in a generous squeeze of lemon juice and season with a pinch of salt and some pepper.
- Make a simple vinaigrette: put a crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon mustard, some salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil in a screw topped jar and shake to emulsify.
- Try barbecued artichokes: boil or steam, s above, then slice them in half lengthways, tip to base. Brush with some olive oil and grill them, cut side down, on the barbecue for a couple of minutes. Eat each half as above, relishing that intense, smoky flavour.
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