Welcome spring with the ultimate healthy appetizer. It's easy to cook an artichoke - and worth every second you spend doing it. Here's how to choose, cook, and eat artichokes!
Fresh artichokes(choose 'chokes that are brightly colored, sport tightly closed leaves, and feel a little heavy for their size)
With a pair of kitchen scissors, snip off the tips of the artichoke leaves. They're pokey, and that's no fun.
With a super-sharp, heavy-duty knife, lop off the top of the artichoke – about 3/4 of an inch worth.
With the same knife, cut off the stem at the base of the artichoke so that it will sit flat.
Remove the bottom row of leaves.
Rinse well under cold water.
Fill a large pot with about two inches of water and set in the artichokes, bottom side down. Optional but tasty: add a bay leaf, a slice of lemon, and/or a garlic clove. Set on the stove and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the temperature on the water to medium, reducing it to a simmer. Cover.
Steam the artichokes for about 30 minutes, until tender. You can check for doneness by inserting the tip of a knife into the bottom (if it goes in with only a little resistance they're done) or by pulling off a tester leave (it should come off easily).
Remove from water, allow to cool a bit, and serve with whatever dip you like (here are a few ideas!)