By Abigail Broderdorf
Spring produce is starting to show up on supermarket shelves, which brings bright flavors and fresh recipes to the table. One vegetable amongst the many to look for this season is the artichoke. Although many recipes call for canned artichokes, the simplicity of a fresh, steamed artichoke is one that should be mastered and enjoyed.
Artichokes may look intimidating, but once you learn to carefully navigate the prickly exterior, a delicious reward is inside. Not only is the flavorful heart of the artichoke a coveted prize, but the edible leaves are a delectable treat as well. Artichokes are full of antioxidants and are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Look for artichokes in which the petals are rather closed, as they will be more fresh and tender. Keep stored in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
· 4 globe artichokes
· 1 lemon, halved
· 1 peeled garlic clove(optional)
· Mayonnaise (optional)
· Melted butter with lemon juice (optional)
- Break off artichoke stems to remove the tough fibers, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke.
- Slice about 3/4 inch to 1 inch off the tip of the artichoke.
- Trim off the pointed leaf tops of the artichokes with scissors.
- Rub all cut parts with the lemon half.
- Fill large pot with two inches of water.
- Squeeze juice from both lemon halves into the water.
- Add the garlic clove— keep it whole.
- Place a steamer basket into the pot of water.
- Set artichokes top down in steamer basket and cover.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and steam artichokes, covered, 45 to 50 minutes or until a bottom leaf from each base pulls away easily.
- Remove from heat.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Serve with mayonnaise and/or melted lemon butter, if desired.
How to eat an artichoke
1. Once artichoke has cooled to room temperature, peel one leaf off at a time.
2. Dip the white, fleshy end into dipping sauce, if desired.
3. Tightly grip the other end of the petal.
4. Place leaf in mouth—dip side down—and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy portion of the petal.
5. Discard remaining petal.
6. Continue until all petals are removed.
Note: The first few layers of petals may be a bit tougher than the inner, softer layers—don’t give up just yet!
7. With a knife or a spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible, fuzzy part—known as the “choke”—that covers the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart.
8. Cut heart into pieces and dip in sauce, if desired.
Adapted from: www.recipe.com and www.simplyrecipes.com