Artichoke, an attractive, edible bud of a large thistle plant belonging to the sunflower family, has mild-flavored leaves and a tender, succulent center, or heart. Although artichokes are available year round in most areas, spring is peak season. Parboiling is a time-saving method that cooks the artichoke partially, softening the vegetable for roasting or other cooking methods. Parboiling is especially useful for artichokes, which are dense and require lengthy cooking time.
Slice the stem end of the artichoke straight across to make a flat base, then trim 1/2 to 1 inch from the pointy top.
Snip the sharp tips of the leaves, using clean kitchen shears. Rinse the artichoke thoroughly to remove sand and grit from the leaves.
Fill a large Dutch oven or saucepan with water, then add a pinch of salt, along with the juice of one or two lemons to add flavor and preserve the artichoke's bright color. You can also drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the water.
Bring the water to a boil, then place the artichoke in the boiling water and cover.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the artichoke for 15 minutes.
Drain the artichoke thoroughly, then roast or use in recipes as directed.
The Best Way to Cook Large Artichokes
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- The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion: Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Cook Like a Pro: The Essential Handbook for Success in the Kitchen; Editors of Williams Sonoma
- Sunset All-Western Cook Book; Genevieve Callahan
- Country Living: Roasted Artichokes
- Ocean Mist Farms: How to Prepare and Cook Artichokes
- Fine Cooking: How to Blanch and Parboil Vegetables
- Baltimore Sun: Blanch vs. Parboil: Separated by a Plunge in Icy Water
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.