Aren't these baby artichokes gorgeous? When I bought them at the farmer's market, the vendeuse sighed, "They look just like little flowers, don't they?" Indeed: artichokes are the flowers of the thistle plant. The buds pop out all along the stalk, and the smallest buds towards the bottom are picked and sold as baby artichokes. They range in color from deep eggplant to bright green. These were a mix, but all had prickly tips so long and sharp they looked like talons!
Trimming an artichoke is a depressing exercise since so much is thrown in the garbage (though I did it with these since I wanted them for a risotto). I usually prefer to buy jumbo 'chokes, cut off the stems, snip off the prickly tops with scissors and whack off the top inch and then steam or boil away for 45 minutes. To eat, I peel off the leaves, dipping the bottom of each one in melted butter or mayonnaise and tugging at the soft meat on the end, eating my way around the artichoke till I get to the thistle inside. Once this fuzzy part is scooped out, the luscious heart is all mine for the chomping.
Beats those puckery store-bought artichokes every time.