April 8, 2011
Spring is one of my four favorite seasons - and what better way to celebrate freedom from Jack Frost's icy stranglehold than artichokes???
Now don't choke up if you don't know where to start... it may look intimidating, but with a little practice you'll be a pro! Here is how my mother taught me and my girls to clean and prepare artichokes...
The first thing you should do is fill a big bowl with water. Cut two lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
Give your artichokes a rinse under running water.
Pull off the exterior hard leaves until you get to the petals that are a pale yellow-green color.
With a paring knife, cut off the bottom half of the stalk, then with a knife or vegetable peeler, take off the first layer of skin to get to the pale yellow flesh. Do the same for the base of the choke. Then cut about 1/2 inch (1cm) off the top to remove the rough, sharp tips - That's it!
Now you can either throw the artichoke right into the lemon water or do what I do: once the artichoke is cleaned, rub it inside the lemon half covering it with juice. The acidity from the juice prevents it from turning brown. Let each artichoke sit in the water while you clean the rest. At this point, the artichokes can be used in a salad, on crostini, or as part of a pasta sauce. You can boil, steam, or grill them, or slice them into thin pieces to create one of my favourite dishes, carciofi fritti