Artichokes - Steamed

Remove the outer leaves of the artichoke until the colour of the base of the leaves is a lighter yellow/green colour.  This is easy to do by pulling the leaves towards the stem.

Organic artichokes may have earwigs in them.  Usually the earwigs are only in the outer leaves so they should come out with this cleaning.

Using a knife, pare back the artichoke stem being careful to not cut too much off.  The stem softens when cooked and taste delicious.

Cut the tips of the artichokes off.  They will almost instantly begin to brown so do this right before steaming. Place the clean  artichokes in a steamer basket with ½ a lemon and 2 bay leaves.

Steam until heart is tender when pierced with a tip of a paring knife, and inner leaves pull out easily, 25 to 35 minutes; add more water to pot, if necessary.

Melt butter and place this in small bowls with freshly cracked pepper.

Peel the leaves off the artichoke dipping them in the butter and then use your teeth to remove the soft flesh from the base of the leaf.  Discard the leaf.  Continue in this fashion slowly, unveiling the soft centre of the artichoke.  The closer you get to the centre, the more of the leaf you can eat.  If the “choke” has fiberous hairs, gently remove these with a spoon.  They come out easily.  Consume the whole remaining stem and heart.