Artichokes & Butter


Despite the fact that artichokes grow extremely well in Ireland, I didn't have the pleasure of "m-eating" one until I moved to the big city of Dublin (wink). They have a sort of dinosaur/alien like quality, in feel and appearance. I would like to shake hands with the first person who persevered and removed all the tough, inedible, spiky outer leaves and eventually reached the delicious heart of this beast. 

We always steamed them whole and peeled the leaves, dipping them into melted butter as we began to reach the center. Lately though, by the very fact of their thriving in the garden and therefore producing almost (ssshhh...) too many, I've taken to peeling them quickly and paring down to the heart, dropping them into a pot of simmering lemony water until tender, followed by a non-optional baptism in liquid butter with a generous squeeze of lemon. I then walk around the house with the warm saucepan and a spare fork, stopping to share with anybody who crosses my path. The path is filled with smiles, mostly because I fought the prickly beast, tended to it's cooking and now the heart is offered freely.

The red variety have spikes but are considered tastier.

The red variety have spikes but are considered tastier.


  • a couple of artichokes 2-3 for 2 people, for a pre-dinner snack
  • lots of butter
  • fresh black pepper & salt
  • 2x lemons


  • get a large bowl of cold water, squeeze one lemon in to prevent the artichoke going brown from the air
  • put a pan of water on and bring it to a simmer
  • peel away the outer leaves, watching out for little thorns found on some varieties
  • when you reach the softer central leaves (see top photo) slice the top off
  • using a paring knife carefully work down to the solid heart
  • scrape away the soft hairs with a teaspoon
  • place in the cold lemony water while you continue prepping
  • when they're all done, cut any lager ones into quarters or thirds
  • simmer until tender
  • melt butter in a small pot, add lemon juice and zest if unwaxed, s&p -taste and adjust to your liking
  • enjoy straight from the pan...or a bowl at the table
  • you can also eat the younger ones raw in a salad