If I serve you a whole artichoke—armored, pointy, and downright hostile-looking—it means I like you. Surprised? Consider this: Eating an artichoke involves removing its many leaves one by one, dipping each leaf in something delicious, and then scraping off the tender flesh with your teeth. The journey to the dense, nutty heart is by necessity a leisurely one. So when I present you with a whole artichoke, I’m saying, “You’re someone I want to spend time with.”
But a lot of people are daunted by the idea of preparing and serving artichokes. Forbidding appearance aside, there’s conflicting advice about the best way to trim and cook artichokes; since they can be pricey outside their growing region, just winging it seems reckless. And eating them requires artichoke‑specific techniques that aren’t exactly intuitive.
Still, it’s worth overcoming these obstacles, because the edible parts of an artichoke have a uniquely rich, almost creamy texture and an appealing flavor that’s a little like asparagus, but with added intrigue. A well-cooked artichoke needs little embellishment beyond melted butter.