01 of 10
Start With An Artichoke
I remember the first time I had an artichoke, many years ago: It was steamed, and we pulled away the petals, and sucked the soft flesh from the petal bases, discarding the rest, until we got to the artichoke hearts. This isn't the Italian way. Rather, Italians begin with a fresh artichoke of the kind shown here, stem and all.
This particular artichoke is a fine example of a cultivar called Morellino, and has long, sharp spines on the ends of the petals, which it's important to get rid of.
[Edited by Danette St. Onge on 1/31/2016]Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
The Artichoke Stripped of Tough Outer Petals
Begin by rubbing your hands with a cut lemon to keep the artichoke's juices from staining them. Next, start pulling away the tough outer petals (pull down, towards the stem), working around the artichoke, until you reach the more-tender inner petals, which will snap off much more easily. Exactly how many leaves one must remove is something learned with experience, but don't be surprised if you discard about a third of the petals.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Trim the Tip of the Artichoke
Once you have reached the more-tender inner petals, which are a lighter green color, you must trim the top of the artichoke with its spiny tips.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
The Tip of a Trimmed Artichoke
Rub your finger across the freshly cut surface of the artichoke to make certain there are no remaining spines. If there are, remove the offending petals.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Trim the Stem of the Artichoke
If you are planning to do something that requires standing the artichokes upright, for example, stuffing them, trim the stem flat with the base of the petals. Otherwise, trim the stem of the artichoke leaving about an inch (2.5 cm) below the petals.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
Pare the Stem of the Artichoke
If you look at the stem of an artichoke you will see a ring, with tough, darker green skin surrounding a paler green heart. The darker part is not good to eat, and you should remove it with a paring knife, leaving the heart of the stem, which is an extension of the heart and good to eat. When you're done preparing the top part of the artichokes, peel the stems to reveal their cores.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
A Fully Trimmed Artichoke
Artichokes discolor quite quickly when exposed to air. To prevent this, rub the artichoke all over with a cut lemon, or soak the cut artichokes in a bowl of water with a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice added.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Artichokes Cut in HalfThe trimmed artichokes, cut in half. Note that their hearts have some fuzz. This fuzz is unpleasant to eat, and must go.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Removing the Fuzz From the Artichoke HeartUse either a paring knife or a spoon to remove the fuzz from the heart of the artichoke.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Slicing the Artichoke
The artichokes are now ready to be sliced. Depending upon what you are doing, you may want to quarter them, or cut them into eighths. Or, you may want to slice them, as you need to do for this recipe for black rice with artichokes.