The Super Simple Way To Steam Artichokes In The Microwave

You know spring is here when big, colorful artichokes appear at farmer's markets. When you spot them you can't help but picture yourself dipping every tender leaf into melted butter, one at a time. But the prep work to get to that point makes you rethink your decision to go home with the dozen or so you planned on eating tonight. Delicious as they are, artichokes make you work for their enjoyment in the form of spiky leaves and a long cook time. But they may have met their match in the standard kitchen microwave.

Traditionally, artichokes are steamed until they are tender, and this usually takes a good half an hour. Before they are placed in a steaming basket, the leaves and stems need to be trimmed as well. All in all, you may be looking at close to an hour before you can sit down to enjoy this delicious veggie. Cooking it in the microwave takes a fraction of the time as steaming, and, in the end, you end up with the same tender, tasty result. Delicious food in less time? It's a no-brainer.

Ready in minutes

You'll still need to prep your artichoke for eating, so if its leaves have sharp spikes, trim them off with a pair of kitchen shears. This will make taking the leaves off easier on your fingers. If any dried or brown areas are on the stem, snip those off as well. 

There are several ways you can steam an artichoke in a microwave, and cook times will vary a bit depending on the size of your model. But all in all, you place a trimmed artichoke in a microwave-safe bowl with a bit of water (roughly half an inch) and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. The vegetable is done when the leaves pull away from the stem easily. Depending on the size of your artichoke, you'll want to microwave it somewhere between 5-10 minutes, popping it back in if it needs more time. 

If you are concerned about the effects of microwaving with plastic, try using a ceramic or glass dish to cover it, as this will also effectively trap the steam. Once your artichoke is cooked perfectly, serve it as you normally would, with melted butter, hollandaise, or aioli for dipping. This cooking method also works for stuffed artichoke recipes that are baked, like cheese-stuffed artichokes. You'd simply steam the artichoke first, stuff the center and bake. Go ahead and buy as many artichokes as you want. You'll be eating them in no time at all.