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Watch this video to learn how to peel and eat an artichoke.
I'm Chef John Reilly from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to prepare and clean an artichoke.
The artichoke can look a little bit intimidating just because of its shape and size - but rest assured, if you have a good chef's knife, a nice paring knife, and a simple teaspoon, this is very easy to work with. You also want to have a bowl over to the side, with a little bit of water and some lemon squeezed inside of it, so that the artichoke doesn't turn brown on us very quickly.
The first thing we do is cut down to about a third of the base of the artichoke. Just cut right through it and remove the top. As we open this up, what we're searching for is not what's on the outside, or that thistle in the middle, that choke part, we really want what's inside the center. So we're going to trim around the outside and take off that hard outer green layer. Then we're going to scoop out the choke part, the center part of the artichoke. As you can see, this thistle is the part we need to remove.
Now that it's nice and clean, we're going to switch to our paring knife and we'll follow the natural contour of the artichoke to also peel off the outer layer down by the stem. We want to make sure that all the green is removed, because it's not the most edible.
We need to work very quickly with artichokes because they begin to discolor. To give you an example of how fast these oxidize, I'll just cut away a little bit - and we can see a great difference between the surface that's fresh and what's what's been around in the air just while we prepare it. From here we want to hold that in our lemon water and just soak and submerge it completely in the water, so the air doesn't get to it.
There's many ways we can prepare them: we can steam them, or sauté them. Cook them just until they're tender, and they're great in flavor.
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