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Monday, January 31, 2011

Pressure-Cooked Italian Artichokes

By Anthony J Petrel


I love artichokes. I know a lot of people who have never eaten an artichoke, mostly because they don't know what to do with them. They don't know how to prepare or trim them, they don't know how to cook them, and they don't know how to eat them.
Well, I am about to take the mystery out of artichokes, and I am going to tell you how to cook them the fastest way a pressure cooker (and they come out great). I will even tell you how to eat them.
First here is some cook's tips on how to prepare your artichokes for cooking and what pans not to use:
1. To trim artichokes, cut the pointed tops off, then cut the stem off flush with the bottom. You may want to pull some of the more unsightly outer leaves off too.
2. Never use cast iron or aluminum pans to cook artichokes, as they will cause a metallic taste and discolor the artichokes.
Now let's get down to the cooking part. You can just boil your artichokes in water until tender, but I believe this is the fastest way to get the best results:
- 2 cups water
1. Put the water in a pressure cooker with the rack in the bottom.
- 4 artichokes, washed and trimmed
- Garlic salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Dried parsley to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil
2. Season the artichokes to taste with the salt, pepper and parsley, then drizzle a little olive oil over the top. (The leaves should be pulled slightly opened to receive the seasoning.)
3. Place the artichokes in the cooker over high heat and bring the cooker to pressure. Turn the heat down and cook under pressure for 15 minutes.
Release the pressure and serve the artichokes plain or with mayonnaise (my favorite).
When eating artichokes, just pull a leaf off and dip the "meaty" end in mayonnaise. Then, while holding the tip of the leaf with your fingers, put the artichoke leaf between your teeth and scrape the soft, delicious "meat" from the leaf.
When you come to the heart (bottom) of the artichoke, spoon or cut the fuzzy part off and you will be left with the heart, which is all "meat" and delicious.
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