The basics of artichoke steaming, really begin with how to properly prepare them for steaming. For the purpose of getting down the basics, I will be steaming plain artichokes. Once you give it a try, you could easily scoop out the center and steam stuffed artichokes.
Let us begin. When looking for a good artichoke, you want one even in color and with a firm feel. The leaves should appear tight together and should not pull off if you give a very light tug.
Once water is boiling add your artichokes to the steamer.
Cover and set a timer. For small artichokes start around 35 minutes, medium 45, large 55. The ones I have in the photo started at 45 minutes.
When your timer goes off. Carefully remove lid, lift away from you to avoid steam. Gently and quickly give a leaf a light tug, if it removes it is done. If not recover and retest in 10 minutes. The ones in the photo took a total of 55 minutes to cook.
When they are all cooked, carefully remove using tongs to a serving plate and let sit for a few minutes to de-steam. You will be able to see how they have developed a rich olive color.
When serving, make sure your guests know how to eat an artichoke and offer advice if needed. try to work from outside leave towards the inside, only eat the meat at the end of the leaf, if you look carefully there will be a little "ravine" in leaf the meat starts there and works towards base of leaf not tip.
Once leaves turn opaque or a milky pearl color stop eating. Remove these leaves and the little "hairs" by gently scooping with spoon. The heart will be what remains and tends to be the best part for most eaters. I actually prefer the leaves! I also like giving mine a squeeze of fresh lemon right before I dig in.