Two years ago my neighbour gave me two plants which I have put in the vegetable garden and are now in full production. From each plant one can harvest 5-6 artichokes, the central flower, being of the large variety, is best for stuffing with meatball like filling; the smaller side flowery shoots are best for cutting into wedges and sautéing in oil.
Whichever the way you plan to cook artichokes, cut them when young, earlier than you would think appropriate. When they start having fluff in the middle they are past the best as they are really pushing to open up as flowers. They will become progressively woodier and fluffier, and the end result will not be worth the effort of cleaning them.
If you do not have a plant in the garden and want to buy them at a market or in a shop, make sure you choose firm ones, none of the wizened, shrivelled flower heads which I have seen in the market all too often. They will not be good and likely very woody. Below is just a suggestion of how to cook them, but the most important information is, I think, that on how to prep them. Have a go and enjoy.
Artichokes, broad beans and new potatoes
5-6 globe artichokes (side heads are best for this, ie: not the central larger flower head)
500g broad beans, double podded
350g new potatoes, scrubbed, washed and cut into chip like wedges
mixed fresh herbs (curly leaf parsley, chives, oregano)
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed with their jacket on
For the artichokes
Prepare a large bowl of cold water, squeeze the juice of the half lemon in it and dab your fingertips with inside of the half lemon, then place it into the bowl as well. Peel off the outer woodier "leaves" of the artichokes and discard them (or keep them to make a stock). When you have what seem the softer core of the artichokes, slice the spiky tops off with a sharp serrated knife, then cut down the middle and again, to obtain 4-6 wedges from each artichoke, depending on the size. If there is any fluff in the very centre, peel it off and discard it. Place the wedges in the bowl with lemony water, to prevent discolouration until ready to cook them.
For the broad beans
Split open and discard the pods. Boil the beans for 2-3 minutes in salted water, until tender and puffed up. Drain and when cool enough to handle 'double pod' the beans by slipping out of the outer skins to reveal the bright and tender green inside.
In a large pan heat 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and add the two garlic cloves. Leave to flavour on low heat for a little then add the artichokes and potatoes. Sautée for one minute, tossing around, then add a little of the lemony water from the artichokes, salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes are nearly ready and the artichokes soft. Add the broad beans, more seasoning if needed and the fresh herbs.
Eat as a side with BBQd meat or fish. I actually put them onto a pizza with courgettes and some feta cheese. excellent!