Artichokes: How do you cook artichokes?

Fred recently e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink to ask , “How do you cook artichokes?” I have been asked that so frequently that I included my favorite way in Sara Moulton Cooks at Home. I always steam whole artichokes rather than boil them. They lose some flavor and get watery when you boil them. Place a steamer basket in a large soup pot with a lid. Add 1 inch of water to the pot. Cut the stems off the artichokes so they sit evenly and set the stems aside. Pull off and discard any small discolored bottom leaves. If you wish, you can trim off the tips of the leaves but it isn’t really necessary as the thorns become soft when cooked. You can spread the leaves and scrape out the fuzzy purple “choke” before cooking or cool the artichokes slightly after cooking and do it then. ┬áPlace the artichokes pointed side up in the steamer and steam over low heat until the leaves pull off easily, 40 to 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before you think the artichokes are tender, peel the reserved stems and add them to the steamer. Serve all with melted butter. Because artichokes are so sweet and so much fun to eat, kids are likely to give them a try and forget they are a vegetable.

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