Artichokes, like asparagus, sweetcorn and crumpets are one of those glorious foods which are perfect with butter- just butter and nothing else. We are now enjoying our first artichoke crop for two years, after missing out last year when the plants were cut back by the winter frosts. Why they escaped the cold this winter is a mystery.
Our enjoyment is all the more intense because of the enforced abstinence. One artichoke makes a satisfying main course. They couldn’t be easier to prepare- the heads just need to be dropped into boiling water and left to cook for 40 minutes. You need to melt plenty of butter because there needs to be enough to give the hearts a good dunk at the end. I’m a bit of a chav where butter is concerned and always use salted butter- for the simple reason that it’s tastier. One tip, which I always forget at the beginning of the season- always allow a minute or two for the artichoke and the butter to cool down before you start eating- otherwise you’ll burn the roof of your mouth.