So typically French, a hands on messy starter. Just dive in and don't forget a plate on the table for the half eaten leaves.
They are really easy to prepare you just need a big saucepan. Choose artichokes with the leaves closed tight together.
Trim the stems and small lower leaves, this helps artichokes sit flat. Either boil or steam over plenty of lightly salted, boiling water. I often add a slug of vinegar.
They take about 15-30 minutes, depending on the size. They are ready when leaves pull away easily. Steaming them makes it easier to test if they are done.
Serve warm when with either, vinaigrette, melted butter or mayonnaise – garlic mayonnaise is really good. The fat is a great compliment for the bitterness.
It’s messy! pull off the leave one by one, dip in sauce, or pour the sauce over, and scrap out the fleshly part of the leave with your teeth.
When you get to the tiny purple tipped leaves in the centre, you’ll see they hide the fibrous choke. Remove this with a knife to reach the artichoke heart, which is delicious.
Artichokes make everything taste sweet, so stick to dry wines, ideally white, rosé or a light red. Steer clear of big, bold Cabernets, as artichokes bring out the tannins in red wine too. A young, unoaked Merlot driven Bordeaux AOC would be perfect for red wine drinkers.