Basic Technique 6

Preparing and Cooking Artichokes

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Use only the heart of the artichoke and discard the rest. Have a bowl of cold, lightly salted, citric water standing by to drop in the prepared artichoke bottoms, which will prevent them from discolouring. Snap the stalk from the base of the artichoke. If it’s fresh, the stalk will be very firm and come away easily. Peel away all the tough outer leaves to reveal the purple inner leaves and the artichoke heart. Using a serrated knife, cut across these leaves at the point where they join the artichoke heart. Cut off 2 mm of the base of the artichoke to reveal the bottom of the artichoke heart. Trim around the sides of the artichoke with a sharp paring knife to remove all the outer leaves. Scoop out the fibrous centre of the artichoke with the tip of a teaspoon. Place in the cold water until ready to cook.
To cook the artichoke hearts, add a squeeze of lemon, coriander seeds, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a sprig of fresh thyme, a bay leaf and a dash of olive oil and cover with greaseproof paper. Simmer in salted water over a low heat for 5–10 minutes until tender depending on their size. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the poaching liquid. If not serving immediately, refrigerate the artichokes in the poaching liquid.