Published May 1, 1994.
Forget the classic method of snipping each leaf, trussing, and then boiling for an hour. Just slice the stem and top, then steam.
A classic method for cooking artichokes entails trimming the stem and top tips of the artichoke, snipping off the tip of each leaf, then tying a slice of lemon to the stem and trussing the artichoke as if it were a gift package. The artichoke is then boiled for more than an hour. To test for doneness, leaves are pulled off, which too easily can burn hands. That's a lot of work.
We wanted to find a better, quicker way to prepare artichokes that skipped the classic yet tedious methods.
We found out that artichokes need very little advance preparation. In fact, the only preparation they need consists of two slices--one to trim the stem and one to slice off the top quarter. It turns out that the leaves' pointy tips soften when cooked. After many hours of slicing, snipping, tying, boiling, microwaving, braising, and steaming, we found that artichokes are best when cooked using the easiest method--steaming. We put whole artichokes, stem-end up, in about an inch of water in a heavy-gauge nonreactive pot with a tight-fitting lid. A steaming rack was useful but not necessary. We should add that braising, which combines browning and simmering, also produces very flavorful artichokes. However, this method involves more work than steaming, since you first have to sauté the artichokes, then deglaze the pan, then simmer the artichokes in liquid.list of recipes