Boiled Artichokes

When I set out to do this blog, I wanted to make sure I made everything on there as tasty as I could. I didn’t want to conjure up images of sad boiled vegetables that you can’t tell if they came from a can or not because they are so watery and gross. However, after consulting with strangers near the produce aisles, my grandmother, the internet and my heart, I have decided to boil an artichoke.

I’m not perfect.

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Most of the sites I used for reference say to cut off the top part of the artichoke which seems like a bummer given my enthusiasm for wasting food, but I wanted to do this right. They also said to use a serrated knife which I did not read much into so I did not and let me just tell y’all, use a serrated knife. Your life will improve.

You throw it in a pot of boiling water after chopping off the top and bottom and you just wait. This was probably the easiest thing to cook I have done so far and I see why more people choose to boil produce since you just put it on the stove and forget about it for a while.

Also, either I have been snack deprived for quite some time or there was something on the stove, but it smelled like popcorn when it was boiling. Am I crazy or does anyone else smell that when they boil artichoke?

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Much to my dismay, when they were ready I tried to carefully extract it from the pot only to find them slipping around and tumbling. I could barely get a grip on these to put in the colander to drain. It lost its vibrant green color though and the water I poured out definitely found it all. They all recommend boiling though, so boiling it is!

When I cut them in half, I did not expect to see such a weird smash of leaves in the heart of it. I’ve only ever eaten the hearts but they’ve always been pickled or mixed up in a cheesy spinach dip. I also wasn’t one-hundred percent sure where the heart stopped and the good leaves began.

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I plucked whatever I could off and put them in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper and took a bite. Well, it was bite-like. I ultimately didn’t want to post a picture of half eaten food, but I did take pictures to try and show how you eat these. You get a leaf, put the bottom in your mouth and scrape the meaty bits off the leaf with your teeth. It was a messy experience to say the least with the combination of water that hadn’t drained (I was impatient) and olive oil I mixed them up with.

Most people dip the leaves in butter, which I’m not allowed to have this month, so I took a page from French artichoke diners and dipped it into homemade mayo with a bit of vinegar and spices mixed in. Fairly good if I do say so myself.

Overall impression of artichoke leaves though? They were tasty, but not the first few bites. It took me a bit to get acclimated to the whole teeth scraping notion so it was slightly difficult to get a good grasp on taste when you’re worried about technique. Weirder than the popcorn smell from earlier though is that the first few bites reminded me of crab meat for some reason or another. I wish now I could remember if it was more outer or inner leaf but the taste didn’t really stand out in later leaves I ate.

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I did figure out that they best ones have white on the bottoms and is easier to scrape because it has more to it, for what that is worth. I like food with a little work put in though, it just seems more rewarding and tasty to me, so if I had a bowl of artichoke bits already scraped off the leaves, I’m not sure if I would like them the same. I think there is some kind of science to the process where it would taste slightly different if I could eat them with fork and knife.

Now I just need to find what to do with the heart that is in my fridge. (I have been waiting forever to get a chance to type that sentence). I may try to incorporate that into something this week or keep it leaves. Whatever it is, it’ll be something new to try.

Author: Olivia O.

East Tennessee native with an interest in food and trying new things.

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