Do I love artichokes? Why, yes, yes I do!
They can be so simple, and really rather filling. They may be a little intimidating if you've never prepared one, so I thought I share my preferred method of preparation.
Begin by slicing off the top of the artichoke where the prickly side is. Just take off enough to remove most of the thorns. When you're done you should have a flat surface. Next, rinse the artichoke thoroughly, gently pulling the top open as you go to get at any dirt trapped inside. Place the artichoke upside down to drain while you prepare the water.
Fill a pot with enough water to just cover the artichoke while it's upside down in the pot. Add the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon and a good pinch of salt. Place the artichoke in the pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Ideally the pot will be about as deep as the artichoke is tall (you can slice some of the stem to make a better fit), this will help to keep the vegetable upside down while it cooks. Cooking in this method is good for two reasons. One, any remaining dirt will be released. Two, the steam will help to cook the thicker bottom part of the artichoke where the delicate "heart" is found. The heart is most people's favorite part, and after nibbling though smidgens of meat, one leaf at a time, the heart seems like a bounty and a real treat.
You know the artichoke is cooked through when you insert a fork into the stem and can push it easily into the bottom of the vegetable.
Remove from the pot and let drain upside down again for a moment or two. Serve with melted butter, mayo, or olive oil, and an extra bowl for your discarded leaves.