Fresh artichokes are available year-round in California, but some claim the “frost kissed” chokes you find in January and February are the sweetest. However, spring is the official season for artichokes and you’ll find them in abundance at the farmers markets. Medium to large artichokes are best for steaming — save the smaller ones for roasting. Select artichokes with tight “petals,” feel heavy for their size, and squeak when squeezed.
2 medium to large artichokes
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
Rinse and trim artichokes, if desired. (See: How to Prep Artichokes.) Use a very sharp knife to slice off about 1 inch off the top of the artichoke. Use a pair of scissors to trim ½-inch off of the petal tips. Slice off the stem from bottom.
Fill a glass microwave-proof baking dish with ½ inch of water. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Swish the artichokes around in the acidulated water, and then place them in the baking dish, petal cut side down. Cover with plastic wrap.
Microwave for 10-14 minutes, depending on your microwave and size of artichokes. Test for tenderness with a fork or paring knife; chokes are done if knife slides easily into the flesh of the stem. If still tough, cover and microwave another minute or so.
When done, allow the artichokes to cool slightly. Then, gently pry open the center of the choke at the top to reveal the center purple petals. Using a spoon, gently scrape out the fuzzy middle.
Serve warm with melted butter, aioli, or other dipping sauce of your choice.