On Artichoke Virgins

Once after a truly happy hour at a local bar, a companion and I stopped at the store on our way home and there found a mound of beautiful artichokes neither too tight nor too loose and with a bit of a purple blush.

I just had to get a couple. I called to my drinking buddy, who was cruising the cucumbers, to grab a bud of garlic and a couple of lemons. After picking up a few more items, we headed for the checkout counter where he espied my artichokes.

“And what are you going to do with these?” he asked. He admitted that he’d never eaten a fresh cooked artichoke.

Inebriation, dear hearts, is a great initiator but a poor executor, which is how, about ten minutes later, I found myself alone in the kitchen with two beautiful artichokes, diminished incentive, and a hungry guest. Persevering, I heaved a vast sigh, and began cooking.

To cook fresh artichokes, bring a half a quart of salted water to boil in a 2-quart saucepan, add no more than four truncated, trimmed, and stemmed artichokes, cover, bring to a rolling boil, and steam for about 20 minutes.

When you can stick a toothpick in the heart of the bud without a lot of resistance, remove artichokes and plunge into cold water until cooled. Invert into a colander to drain.

Serve with warm garlic butter, and teach virgin to eat. Be gentle. Be patient.