Steaming artichokes in the microwave is much quicker than doing it on the stove-top, obviously. The slightly drier nature of the method, however, requires using the very freshest of artichokes to avoid a tough texture. Also important is the resting step at the end - the steam will still be cooking, and tenderizing, the chokes while they sit.
- Trim the artichokes before you cook them (see How to Trim Artichokes for specifics if you need them).
- Put the trimmed artichokes in a microwave-proof dish. Add about 1/4-inch of water to the dish and cover with a tight fitting microwave-proof lid. The tight-fitting part is very important because it's the steam from the hot water that will help keep the artichokes from drying out and turning tough in the heat created by the microwaves.
- Microwave the artichoke(s) on High for 4 minutes. Let the chokes sit for another 4 minutes still covered (I like to leave them in a closed microwave). Check for done-ness by pulling a leaf from close to the center of the leaves. If the leaf comes out easily, the artichokes are done; if there is resistance, continue cooking. If the artichokes aren't not done, continue microwaving them for a minute at a time (letting them sit for an equal amount of time after each session) until a leaf removes easily and the flesh is tender.
Serve the cooked artichokes hot with melted butter, or let them cool to room temperature or even chill them and serve them with one of these dips for artichokes.