How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke
Artichokes are like lobsters: They take a long time to eat and make a handy vehicle for shoveling melted butter into yourself. But they have way more antioxidants than lobster, they're much less expensive, and you don't have to chase them around your kitchen with a broom, screaming, before you boil them alive.
- Heavily salt a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. (People say to put lemon in the water to keep the artichokes from turning grayish, but I don't bother. If you're dipping something in melted butter, who cares what color it is?) Use a serrated knife to saw off the top inch of the artichoke and all but a stub of its stem, then use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip any remaining pointy tips off each visible leaf (the goal here is for your child not to associate eating a vegetable with stabbing pain).
- Drop the artichokes into the boiling water, cover the pot, turn the heat down, and cook at a gentle boil until an inside leaf pulls out easily when you tug it, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander for at least 10 minutes (the goal here is that your child not associate eating a vegetable with searing his palate), then serve with melted butter, livened up, if you like, with a squeeze of lemon.
- Starting from the outside, show your child how to pull off a leaf and, holding the trimmed end, dip the other end in butter and scrape the meaty part off it with his bottom teeth. He can keep dipping and scraping as he goes. When he gets to the hairy part, use a spoon to scoop out and discard the fuzzy choke for him, then slice up the heart for the best eating of all.