Tarragon cream/Caper mayonnaise / mustard vinaigrette / both
In a 10- to 12-quart pan, combine 5 to 6 quarts water, vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, and oil.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, remove coarse outer leaves from artichokes and trim stems even with base.
With a sharp knife, cut off top third of each artichoke.
With scissors, trim thorns from tips of remaining leaves.
Immerse artichokes in cool water and swish back and forth.
Lift from water; hold with stem end up and shake out water.
Place artichokes in the boiling water.
Reduce heat, cover, and boil gently until artichoke bottoms are tender when pierced, 30 to 40 minutes.