I had never tried a steamed artichoke before I married Ryan. He is surprisingly sentimental about artichokes, because he was often served them by sweet “Sister Madras” while on a two-year church mission in Chile.
Have you ever tried one? I am insisting that you go out and buy one the moment you finish reading this. 🙂 They are so, so good! And they’re fun to eat, dipping each leaf in olive oil and lemon juice. It is a process that can’t be rushed, so it is perfect for datenight in with your spouse! Ryan and I have had some great conversations while sharing one of these after the boys are snug in their beds. If you’re new to the fantastic world of artichokes, here’s the 411…
When selecting artichokes, the tighter the leaves, the fresher they are. Brown spots are simply from early frosts and won’t affect negatively affect the taste. Some people even say the frost-kissed ones are the sweetest. 🙂
1 large artichoke (or two small ones)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Wash the artichoke in cold water. Slice about one inch off the top. (This makes cooking them a bit easier and also gets rid of the pricklies.) Slice off the stem, as close to the bud as possible, so that the artichoke can stand upright.
2. Fill a pot with one inch of water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Place the artichoke in the water, face down. Cover and steam for 20 minutes, if it is a large artichoke. (If small, like mine, try 12 minutes.)
3. Remove lid and flip the artichoke over so that it stands upright in the water. Add about 1 cup of water. Drizzle the artichoke with 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil, allowing it to sink down within the leaves. (Yum!) Sprinkle with salt. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes (or 12, if small).
4. In the meantime, pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a small boil. Add the juice of one lemon and a generous dose of salt.
5. Remove artichoke from the pot and take off a couple of leaves, to test for doneness. The “meat,” so to speak, at the inside-bottom of the leaf should be very tender when you scrape it with your teeth. (Don’t forget to dip in the lemon oil!) If it is still tough, put it back in and check again after 5 more minutes of steaming.
This is what they look like after cooked.
And this is the heart. You can remove those little “hairs” with a pairing knife or a spoon.
Cut the heart into pieces, sprinkle with salt, and dip in the lemon oil. And tell me they are not delicious! (Because they are!!) Happy dipping!