Artichokes, in season over the summer and autumn in the UK, are not a fast food. They take time and preparation to enjoy the subtly flavoured leaves and artichoke hearts themselves. Julia Child describes a good artichoke as “heavy and compact, with fleshy, closely clinging leaves of a fine, green or greenish-purple colour all the way to the tips”.
Julia is one of the original chefs who transposed the recipe for artichokes with hollandaise sauce from France to America, so her recipe is one of the best to be followed. Instead of trying to improve on it we at Season’s Eatings share our attempt at following it with you.
- 1 artichoke
- 1/2 lemon
- Hollandaise sauce
- To prepare the artichoke, bend the stem until it snaps off, allowing the tougher part to be removed. Tear off the lower leaves and then trim the base so that the artichoke stands solidly upright.
- Lay the artichoke on its side then, using scissors, cut three quarters of the tip of the artichoke heart off. Trim off the points of the rest of the leaves and wash under cold water.
- Using half a lemon, quickly rub over the cut parts of the lemon juice and then drop into a bowl of water containing a tsp of vinegar, so that it does not discolour.
- To cook, place in a large pan of boiling, salted water. The artichoke will take 30-40 minutes depending on exact size. Artichokes are buoyant, so will float. We managed to use a slotted spoon to keep ours just submerged. You will know when the artichoke is cooked as the leaves will pull out easily and bottom of the artichoke is tender when pierced with a knife.
- Once ready to eat, tear off each leaf, holding the tip in your hand and dip the base into the hollandaise sauce. Scrape the flesh off between your teeth, but don’t munch through the whole leaf.
- To eat the heart, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle over any remaining Hollandaise, then eat using a knife and fork.