Our Test Kitchen experts offer steaming and grilling tips that dispel the bad rap. We even included a recipe for fried artichokes―coated in cornmeal, of course.

Grilled Artichokes
Pull leaves from Grilled Fresh Artichokes, and dip bottom ends into a flavorful Mayo Mixture such as Pepperoncini or Chipotle-Lime.
| Credit: Charles Walton IV / Styling Rose Nguyen / Food Styling Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

What is an artichoke? It's the flowering bud of a thistle plant.

How do you select a good one? Top-quality artichokes are heavy for their size, bright, almost shiny green with a purple tinge, cold but not wet feeling, and have tightly compacted leaves.

Is there nutritional value? Yes. A 12-oz. artichoke is high in vitamin C and potassium.

What is the peak season? Artichokes are more plentiful and flavorful between March and May. They are also cheaper.

How do you eat artichoke leaves? Slide leaves between your teeth to remove the tender, nutty-tasting portion. Cut the artichoke heart into bites with a knife and fork and plunge into sauce before popping into your mouth.

Mayo Mixtures

Try these with grilled, steamed, or Cornmeal-Fried Artichokes.

Bonus Idea: These flavored mayonnaises are great as sandwich spreads; tossed with cooked pasta for pasta salad; as sauces for grilled vegetables; or slathered on fresh, cooked corn on the cob.

Buttery Dipping Sauces

Our Food staff especially liked these with the Steamed Fresh Artichokes. You can also brush either sauce on steamed artichoke halves in place of olive oil, salt, and pepper before grilling.