For whole artichokes as a first course, figure one large artichoke per person. If you are stuffing the artichokes, you could cut them in half and serve each person a half. Stuffed artichoke bottoms should be served one per person, and hearts on or two per person.

Season to Taste

When flavoring artichokes, think of some of our favorites:

Basil ~ Olive Oil ~ Black Pepper ~ Butter ~ Oregano ~ Parmesan Cheese ~ Chervil ~ Cream ~ Parsley ~ Garlic ~ Shallot ~ Ginger (fresh) ~ White Wine ~ Lemon

Put the artichokes, stem side down, in a stainless-steel or enamel-coated pan in which they fit snugly so they don’t bob up in the water. Cover with boiling water or fresh cold water and add a slice of lemon and a teaspoon salt for each artichoke. Heat or return the water to boiling. Reduce the heat and boil gently, uncovered, 30 to 45 minutes. The artichoke is done when the bottom is tender when pierced with a knife and the leaves pull off easily. Using tongs, remove the artichokes and turn them upside down on a rack or in a colander to drain. Let drain a few minutes if you’re serving them hot, or let them cool completely.

Boil artichoke hearts or bottoms with lemon slices in salted water to cover. Test for doneness by piercing them with a knife; it usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water.

Find a pan with a tight cover that will fit the artichokes standing upright. Pour in an inch of boiling water and a teaspoon of salt, cover the pan, and boil the artichokes gently until their bases are tender and the leaves pull off easily, 30 to 45 minutes. Keep a kettle of boiling water nearby, because you may have to replenish the water several times. The denser bottom sitting in the water will cook faster than the tender leaves at the top-which is just the way it ought to be.

Baby artichokes, if truly, fresh and tender, can be sauteed whole or cut into halves or quarters lengthwise. Artichoke hearts and bottoms can be sauteed too, but first precook them until half tender in boiling water to cover.

Whole artichokes are better boiled or steamed, but if you want to cook them with a stuffing, baking is the answer. Trim whole artichokes and remove the chokes, spoon the stuffing into the center, and arrange them in a deep baking dish with a lid. Add enough broth or other cooking liquid to come 1 inch up the sides, and cover the dish. Bake at 350F until the bottoms are tender, at least 45 minutes. You may want to remove the lid for the last 5 or 10 minutes to lightly brown the tops. Whole artichokes can also be precooked, halved or left whole, stuffed, and baked on a baking sheet or browned under the broiler.