Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to prepare and eat whole artichokes

I had never grown up eating artichokes. The only kind I had ever eaten were the marinated artichokes in jars or antipasto bars. The first time I saw fresh artichokes in the grocery store I decided to buy some and experiment. It was not so intimidating once I found out how easy it was to prepare them and I discovered how delicious they are!! Now artichokes are one of my go-to easy appetizers to serve when guests come over. They are pretty and fun to eat.

Here is my step-by-step method or preparing fresh artichokes.

1. Run water vigorously over the tops of the artichokes separating the leaves slightly so any dirt that may be inside the layers are forced out.

2. Peel away the tough outer petals. (Approximately 2 layers) Using a sharp knife, cut off the stems of the artichokes so that they can stand upright. Also cut the top of the artichoke off to expose the inner layers.

3. Using kitchen scissors, snip the thorny points off of the remaining outer petals.

4. Cut a piece of garlic in half and rub the tops of the artichokes.

5. Squeeze a quarter of lemon into the tops of the artichokes, separating the petals slightly to get inside the layers.

6. Stand the artichokes upright in a pot. Place some crushed garlic cloves on top and fill the pot with about 1-2 inches of water. Add the just-squeezed lemon wedges into the water to create aromatic steam. Cover the pot and steam the artichokes on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes or until the petals can be removed easily when pulled.

7. Serve artichokes with lemon wedges and dijon-mayo dip (recipe below...)

Dijon-Mayo dip
Artichokes and mayo are a match made in heaven.
To make a perfect mayo dip for the artichokes, mix the following into a small bowl:
3 tbsp mayo
1 tsp dijon mustard
squeeze of lemon
1/4 tsp of dried dill
salt & pepper to taste

To eat the artichoke, pull a petal, dip the end into mayo, and use your bottom teeth to scrape off the inner flesh of the petal. Discard the outside as it will be too woody to eat. The further you go into the artichoke, the more tender the petals become.
Once you reach the center of the artichoke, you'll come to the heart. Pop off the 'cone' of remaining petals, and you'll see the fuzzy 'choke' that looks like a thistle. Using a teaspoon, gently scrape out and discard the choke, and you will be left with the delicious tender heart at the base of the artichoke. You can eat the entire's the best part! Dip into mayo and enjoy!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

This is classic. Thanks for posting Kimmeh!