The globe artichoke is related to the thistle. Its leaves are eaten, along with the bottom part of the flower, called the heart (which you can also buy canned).
Globe artichokes should have tightly packed, firm heads with no brown patches on the outer layers.
Young globe artichoke buds can be cooked and eaten whole. Later, they still make a delicious starter boiled whole and served with melted butter, mayonnaise, hollandaise or vinaigrette. Break off each leaf and draw the soft fleshy base through your teeth, then pull or slice off the hairy ‘choke’ and eat the heart and the meaty bottom with the remaining sauce.
To prepare raw artichokes, cut the artichoke in half, through the 'equator' with a serrated knife. Discard the tops of the artichokes. Remove and discard the stem and pull off the tough outer leaves at the base. Trim around the base of the artichoke to remove what remains of the tough outer leaves from the sides and base, removing all of the dark green to leave only the white part. Then carefully remove the hairy 'choke' in the middle of the artichoke with a spoon and discard. You'll be left with the artichoke heart or 'fond'.
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