Artichokes are like lobsters in that they take a long time to eat and make a handy vehicle for shoveling melted butter into your mouth. Plus, they have way more antioxidants, they’re much less expensive, and you don’t have to chase them around your kitchen with a broom, screaming, before you boil them alive. When the kids were little, we called them Busytown Vegetables, after the Richard Scarry book. Really, kids love almost any eating that doubles as an activity—corn on the cob, fondue, a chocolate Kinder egg—and green vegetables are no exception. My teenagers still do.
Note: Many people will say to put lemon in the cooking water to keep the artichokes from turning grayish, but I confess to not bothering. If you’re dipping something in melted butter, who cares what color it is? However, if you would prefer that the artichokes remain a little more vibrant, squeeze the juice from two lemons into the pot and, if you’d like even more lemony flavor, drop in the spent lemon halves.
- Heavily salt a very large pot of water—it should actually taste salty—and bring it to a boil over high heat.
- Meanwhile, use a serrated knife to saw off the top inch of the artichokes and all but a stub of their stems, then use a pair of kitchen scissors (or clean regular scissors) to snip the thorny top off each visible leaf so that you won’t poke yourself while you’re eating.
- Drop the artichokes into the boiling water. Cover the pot, turn the heat down, and cook at a gentle boil until a leaf, when you tug it, pulls off very easily. This will likely take around 45 minutes (an hour for really huge ones), and you really don’t want to rush it.
- Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander for a minute or two, then serve with melted butter livened up with a squeeze of lemon.