Cut the top quarter off the artichoke with a serrated knife. Snap off and discard any battered outer leaves. Using scissors, trim the remaining barbed leaf-ends of the artichoke. Cut the stem flush with the artichoke body. Rub the cut surfaces with a lemon half.
Fit a medium pot large enough to hold the artichoke with a steamer basket. Slice the remaining lemon and use it to line the steamer. Arrange the herb sprigs and garlic over the lemon. Put the artichoke stem-end up in the center of the steamer. Add enough water to come up to the bottom of the steamer. Cover and steam over medium-high heat, adding more water if necessary, until outer leaves can be easily removed from the artichoke and the base can be readily pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Serve the artichoke warm with melted butter or oil, or chilled with mayonnaise or oil.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved