Kitchen Exhibitionist
The Culinary Quests of a Food Enthusiast Stuck in the Sticks
Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Artichoke for One

I was raised on artichokes. The family dinner table would often include a plate of artichokes as casually as other family’s tables include a basket of bread. The artichokes were always prepared the same way, Italian style, stuffed with fresh garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, and parmesan cheese, drizzled with lots of olive oil, and then braised until tender.

To me artichokes are comfort food but many of my friends and acquaintances here in gastronomically provincial central Pennsylvania have had no exposure to fresh artichokes and look upon them with a combination of horror and mistrust. I’ve learned to introduce artichokes only to those with open-minded palates.

Because of that, I don’t make artichokes as frequently as I would like to eat them. My old family recipe is time consuming, thus worthwhile preparing only when making a batch of artichokes. So whenever I crave an artichoke, I usually let the craving pass rather than satisfy it…until I discovered a quick and simple microwave method to make an artichoke for one.

Admittedly, these are not as soul-satisfying as my mother’s Italian style artichokes, but they do appease that artichoke craving with only a few minutes of effort.

An odd note about artichokes - don’t bother drinking wine with them. Artichokes contain some chemical that makes anything you drink with them (even water) taste sweet.

Microwave Artichoke for One

1 large artichoke
1 - 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 -2 tablespoons olive oil

Trim artichoke stem flush with base. Slice top inch off artichoke. Pull off any loose or damaged outer leaves from the base. Use a pair of scissor to trim the sharp tips off the outer leaves.

Place the artichoke upside down in a 4 cup glass Pyres measuring cup. Sprinkle garlic over it. Pour in water to cover the bottom third of the artichoke. Drizzle with the olive oil.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and poke a couple holes for the steam to escape. Microwave on high power for 10 to 15 minutes or until the stem is tender (poke it with the tip of a knife).
Turn the artichoke around in the liquid to moisten all the leaves and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

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