Okay, I'm crazy for artichokes. Of course I love them steamed whole, with something for dipping and that's always easy. Here in CA the artichokes have been very good and not too pricey this season. Gabrielle Hamilton has a relatively novel way to steam artichokes currently, but as with some simple ideas, hers can take a turn for the labyrinthine. I swear she could write several pages on how to butter a slice of bread. Lately I came across a simple technique which is rather clever: cut off the top third and steam them cut side down over lemon water. They cook a little faster that way.
But my favorite way to eat them is also the most labor intensive: peeling away a lot of the raw leaves (on large chokes), cutting them, scraping out the fuzzies, putting in acidulated water. Then I dry them briefly with a cloth and sauté them in oil or butter until they are crispy. Prepped like that they are then fabulous whether they are on top of spaghetti, in a lasagne or, my favorite way, as a pizza topping.
But that's a lot of work and, sadly, I'm getting kind of lazy. When chokes are not in season or I want an adequate substitute, I'm looking for a short cut. I don't want marinated in oil; I'm not after a salad. I can't stand canned artichokes. I tried the Spanish style roasted chokes from TJ's, and the texture was okay, but they were so heavily seasoned I had to wash them off. Plain frozen artichokes seem like they have more potential, but even thawed and drained they are pretty watery and flabby. How do I get them to dry out a bit without overcooking them? Are all frozen artichokes pre-cooked? Or are there any frozen raw ones? So far any artichoke that isn't fresh seems not very good. I shouldn't be surprised; it isn't as if I eat many frozen vegetables. I suffer through corn withdrawal ten months a year.
If anyone has a clever way to deal with this dopey problem let me know. My husband has volunteered to prep fresh artichokes so I don't have to do it, but I'm not sure he knows what a pain it is and to be honest I am worried that he will stab himself with a knife or a leaf tip or a grapefruit spoon when removing the fuzz.