In my last years of University, I spent a Summer in Santa Cruz, California. Just South of there is a town called Castroville, California and it is the home of the big ARTICHOKE and the Artichoke Festival!!!
It was there and then that I tried my first fresh Artichoke and I have been enamoured with the vegetable ever since. We eat them fresh as often as we can because they are very high in anti-oxidants, low in fat (except for the butter or Mayo that they are dipped in) and are great fun to eat. They are a very social vegetables because they take time to consume and you have to be somewhat careful. Try preparing them split, steamed and grill them on the BBQ before serving.
A week ago we had ten people over for dinner. I searched far and wide to find large Artichokes (California) rather than the smaller grown local kind. I hit all the markets and supermarkets before I ended up at Whole Foods Market where I purchased 10 of them. I did all my research on the Internet to find the best way to cut, steam and serve them as well as some videos on what to do with them.
When we served them for dinner they were a big hit. Of the 10 worldly guests, only 6 of them had ever had them fresh, and I was led to believe that they have become converts. If life is really boring or you are a fan of fresh Artichokes, I would check out the sites above. Pick up some tips and get dipping! You will not be disappointed! YUM!