Steamed or Boiled Artichokes
Prepare a large bowl of cold water. Squeeze half of the lemon slices into the water and set aside.
Rinse artichokes under cold water to remove any dirt. Using a stainless-steel knife, trim off the bottom portion of the stem about 1/2-inch from the base. Pull off the small and tough lower leaves. Cut off the top 1 inch of the artichoke. If you like, trim the thorny tips of the leaves with kitchen shears. Place the prepared artichokes in the lemon water, to prevent browning.
To steam artichokes: Fill a large stainless-steel or enamel-coated pot with 1 to 3 inches water. Add remaining lemon slices, bay leaves, garlic and black peppercorns. Place a steamer basket or steaming tray in the pot and bring the water to a boil. Using tongs, carefully place the artichokes in the pot. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot, and steam until you can easily pull a leaf from the center of the artichoke, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke.
To boil artichokes: Fill a large stainless-steel or enamel-coated pot with water. Add remaining lemon slices, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and add artichokes. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until you can easily pull a leaf from the center of the artichoke, 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke.
To eat artichokes: Remove a leaf and dip the tender ends in melted butter or mayonnaise, if desired. Scrape the meat off the tender end with your front teeth and discard the remaining leaf. Continue until all of the leaves are removed. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part covering the artichoke heart (the “choke”). The remaining bottom portion, the “heart”, can be sliced and eaten with dipping sauce or used in other recipes.
Artichokes may be served hot or cold.
Make sure to use stainless-steel, enamel or other non-reactive pots and knives to prevent discoloration and off-flavors.
For even more flavorful dipping sauce, try mixing melted butter or mayonnaise with minced garlic, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, curry powder, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce or finely chopped fresh herbs.