Artichokes can be a lot of work for not a lot of reward, in my opinion. I love artichoke hearts, and even baby artichokes, but cooking a regular artichoke is a rare event for me. I did it recently because my husband went grocery shopping with me and decided that he'd like some artichokes. If you are like me and slightly intimidated by the thought of cooking an artichoke, I highly recommend this great tutorial post from Simply Recipes. Once you battle the spines on the ends of the leaves and accept that the artichoke is going to discolor as it cooks, you begin to feel better about cooking them (and figuring out exactly how you eat them). Once that happens, you'll start to enjoy the slow process of peeling apart the warm artichoke, dipping it in a cold sauce, and gently pulling the bit of good flesh off each leaf with your teeth. It becomes sort of a serene process. And, don't forget the heart. Once you pull off all the leaves, scrape out the choke with a spoon, and eat the heart. This recipe will serve four people as a side.
Steamed artichokes with creamy lemon and chive sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
3 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons mayo
pinch of sea salt and a grind of black pepper
Prepare the artichokes by cutting off most of the stems and about 1/2 to 1 inch of the tops. Then use kitchen shears to cut the top off of each remaining leaf (to remove the spike). Pull off the smaller leaves near the stem and/or the first row. Place in a bowl of cold water with the juice of half a lemon until you finish with all the artichokes.
Add about 2 inches of water to a pot along with 1 clove of smashed garlic, a bay leaf, and the rind of the lemon half from the juice you used above (cut into a couple of pieces). Add a steaming basket to the pot, place the artichokes in the basket, and cover with the lid. Cook over medium heat until the water begins to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 35-50 minutes (this will vary depending on the size of your artichokes). You'll want to be able to slide a knife or fork into the stem/bottom of the artichoke with no resistance.
In the meantime, prepare the dipping sauce. Combine the chives, yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper, along with the zest and juice of the remaining lemon half and the remaining garlic clove that has been grated in a small bowl. Mix well and refrigerate until serving time.
When the artichokes are fully cooked, remove from the basket. Let cool slightly and then pull off the leaves, dip, and eat.
What was I cooking one year ago?: eggs, bacon, and asparagus with roasted yellow pepper sauce
Two years ago?: roasted asparagus and goat cheese salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette