Here is a simple way to prepare, cook and eat a fresh artichoke bud, straight from the garden.
My heart beats for artichokes. I feel blessed to be able to proudly grow my own since living in Australia. In Québec, I could just buy them anytime at the supermarket. Now, I can cook some freshly harvested ones, but only in spring. It is a shame that my husband has not developed much interest in these beautiful buds but that’s ok... more for me! There is no need to go all fancy with prepping but they can make a stunning special dinner entrée or appetiser plate. Boiled with lemon and salt and served lukewarm with a dip is the best way to start. If you harvest your own or find them organic locally, let them sit in a water bowl for a bit before cooking to allow some potential little bugs to come out (they like hiding between the leaves). The tender and soft texture inside of its hard armour, dipped in dressing à la Dijon, is to die for. What does it taste like, really? You have to try to know!
Homegrown boiled artichokes • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
And how to eat it? First, once cooked and ready to eat, pull off an outer petal, dip it, and pull through the teeth to remove the soft flesh (discard the remaining petal). Do this one at a time and you’ll see that it gets fleshier as it goes. When reaching the middle part, remove the smaller middle petals and scrape out the fuzzy choke. The base is the heart and the most sublime part of the artichoke. The non-edible part will be a feast for your garden compost, so don't worry if you find more waste than food in the globe. Boiled artichokes can be presented full, in halves or in quarters, as shown on this "sunny plate" presentation. To make this pretty plate, I've boiled them as halves and once cooked, I have cut them into smaller halves and removed the fuzzy part to be ready to eat.
Ready to taste the buds on this pretty plate • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021
Fresh artichokes (1 per person), stem removed
Lemon wedges (1 per artichoke)
Water (enough to cover the buds)
Dip dressing: (for about 2-3 medium artichokes)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
Pinch of tarragon (dried or fresh)
Salt and pepper
Rinse artichoke(s) (if homegrown organically, let sit in the water with a drop of vinegar for 10-15 minutes and rinse well, looking between leaves to remove any potential bug residents).
In a saucepan, bring water with salt to the boil.
Squeeze some juice from the lemon wedge(s) and add them in.
Cut the stem off at the bottom of the artichoke (s) just before adding them to the boiling bath.
Simmer for about 20 minutes (depending on size), until soft (pick the bottom with a fork to check if it is tender).
Drain water and let cool down.
Meanwhile, prepare the dip dressing by whisking the ingredients to a creamy texture.
Serve lukewarm and eat as suggested in the introduction.
Check out some related posts and recipes: