Though artichokes are undeniably intimidating (the spiky leaves!), don't let their unwelcoming appearance scare you off. There are so many great artichoke recipes that prove that the veggie is totally worth the extra effort it takes to prep. Beneath that rough exterior lies a tender heart that's just begging to be put in dips, on pizzas, and in salads.?
Of course, you can often skip the arduous artichoke prep process entirely by using canned, jarred, or frozen artichokes hearts instead. (Most of the recipes below that call for artichoke hearts only will work just as well with these convenient options.)?
If you do go the DIY route, a few creative prep tricks from the pros are all it takes to get the best artichoke experience with the least amount of work. The most common artichoke preparations only require a few common kitchen items: a sharp knife, scissors, and a spoon. A sharp knife is absolutely essential for working with artichokes because they're too tough for a dull knife, Ralph Scamardella, chef and partner at TAO Group, tells SELF. You'll also need a set of scissors to trim the pointy tips on the tops of the leaves, Scamardella says, as well either a spoon or a melon baller—if you happen to have one lying around—to remove the choke, the furry bits at the center.?
Whole artichokes have more to offer than just the hearts, too. Although artichokes aren't entirely edible, there are ways to make use of nearly every single part. For instance, while you can't eat the chokes, you can use them to flavor veggie stocks, broths, and even teas, Derrick Prince, chef de cuisine at Vandal in New York City, tells SELF. You can do the same with the outermost leaves, which, while not technically inedible, are far too hard and fibrous to enjoy eating. On the other hand, the second layer of leaves will soften as it cooks and become an ideal vehicle for dips like aioli or hollandaise. And the layer at the very center is just as delicate and flavorful as the heart, even when raw.
These 27 artichoke recipes will show you all the ways you can enjoy this unusual plant, whether that means popping open a jar of hearts or starting with a whole darn artichoke.?