The Microwave Artichoke Trick For A Restaurant-Worthy Evening Snack

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The microwave can be found in many kitchens across America, dorm rooms, and corporate break rooms and has been relegated to reheating leftovers, making popcorn, and softening butter in many homes. The powerhouse has been dismissed by professional chefs and self-proclaimed "microwave snobs," including the author of 1987's "Microwave Gourmet" and Vogue food editor Barbara Kafka, per The New Yorker.

Kafka's book is filled with over 600 hundred recipes designed for microwave cooking using ingredients like leg of lamb, fish, pheasant, and vea — a far cry from reheating last night's fried rice. Although Kafka educated readers that the microwave was merely a device to wet cook dishes (steam, braise, blanch, or poach), a technique embraced by chefs and home cooks with tools like fancier steam ovens, bain maries, and sous vide immersion circulators, the microwave still suffers from bad PR (per Martha Stewart).

Determined to shed light on the underused workhorse, David Chang shares food he cooks in the microwave at home. Chang and Priya Krishna even wrote a cookbook highlighting the underused appliance called "Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (And Love My Microwave)" and Chang is the spokesperson for a line of microwave cookware called Anyday.

While the microwave isn't the best tool for every recipe, it is a time saver for artichokes, a notoriously laborious dish to cook. Try this microwave trick for perfectly steamed artichokes with tender hearts even your nonna would approve of.

Ten-minute steamed artichokes

Native to Italy, artichokes are a fibrous vegetable, part of the thistle family, that is a quintessential part of Italian cooking. Brought to the states in the 1920s, artichokes are now mainstream and can be found as a side dish or appetizer on menus everywhere. The tender part of the thorny leaves, the stem, and the heart are edible. The choke or fibrous, prickly center of the artichoke should be discarded. Although there are many different preparations, steaming the whole artichoke and serving it with melted butter is popular in the U.S., per My Kind of Italy.

Chef and founder of 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen Anthony Carron likes to steam artichokes in the microwave, which is similar to Barbara Kafka's recipe for globe artichokes à la grecque. According to Carron, what usually takes 45 minutes on the stove can be done in 10 minutes in the microwave (via Food and Wine).

Like all artichoke recipes, Carron begins by cleaning and prepping the artichoke. He wraps it in four layers of plastic wrap and then microwaves it for ten minutes. After a five-minute rest, the artichoke is unwrapped and dressed with fresh lemon juice and sea salt. Working towards the center, the outer leaves are dipped in melted butter and then scraped with your teeth to enjoy the tender parts of the leaves. The heart, the center of the artichoke, is then cut out and smashed with any remaining butter and lemon juice and served on crackers.