Have you ever eaten an artichoke?
If so, you know how delightfully delicious they can be. If not, what is stopping you?
I adore artichokes and so does my family, so I make them quite often.
Here is how I do it:
Take the artichoke in one hand and slice off the top.
This one didn’t have thorns on the leaves, but as a member of the thistle family, sometimes the leaves (technically they are petals because an artichoke is a flower) have a sharp thorns, so be careful!
Then slice off the stem. I have heard the stems are edible, but I have tried cooking them and haven’t had much luck, so off to the compost they go.
Pull of the tough outer leaves and throw them away.
Place the artichokes in a pot of cold water with the stems facing up.
I have cooked artichokes with the stems facing down and I prefer it this way. The water should be around 1.5 inches high in the pot. If you have some white wine you can also add up to 1/2 a cup.
Throw in a dried bay leaf,
a few peppercorns,
a pinch of red pepper flakes,
and some dried herbs. I used an Italian blend, but any combo of oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc would be delish. Bring the water up to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for at least 30 minutes.
Timing an artichoke can be a little tricky because they come in so many sizes. These were pretty large and took about 40 minutes. Small ones might be done in 20 minutes.
You know the artichoke is cooked when you can easily pull a petal off or when you insert a knife into the stem and it is quite soft.
Be sure not to let the liquid dry up. I have burnt a few artichokes and ruined a few pots in my time, so make sure the water doesn’t cook out.
I often serve my artichokes with plain mayo, but I thought I would doctor it up a bit for the guests I was serving.
I start with 1-2 cloves of minced garlic.
I took a picture of the frozen garlic I have been using because I love it! I hate it when my hands smell of raw garlic and this has been such a time and smelly hand saver. I find it in the frozen section at Trader Joes, and I have found it at my regular grocery store.
Then I add the juice of 1 lemon.
Finally I scoop up some mayo and stir them all together.
If it is too lemony or garlicky, just add more mayo. If it is bland, add more garlic and lemon. You can also throw in a pinch or two of salt.
To serve, I place the artichoke in the middle of a dinner plate with the aioli on the side.
It is perfectly fine for your guests to put their eaten petals back on the plate. When you are finished with the artichoke, just scoop out the fuzzy middle and cut the heart in pieces and eat it with the dip.
So delicious, and good for you too!
So how do you prepare your artichokes? If you have a different method I would love to hear about it.