Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Happy Artichoke Season

Elsewhere on Pinch I've referenced my aioli. I used to feel like such a cheater about it. Actually, I still am a cheater - not only do I rely on Hellman's/Best Foods for the foundation, I've turned over its preparation to my husband who makes it better than I. I'm surprise by how much I like this dipping sauce (I was very committed to lemon-butter and am not a fan of mayonnaise). It's light and lemony and goes great with hot and cold artichokes (we often steam enough to have one or two around the next day).

Early in our marriage we missed an entire artichoke season. As the family gatherer, I received a lot of flak for this oversight. While you can find anything year-round, the season is early spring -March to May. In our home, if you want to show someone you really love them, you share - or fully gift - your artichoke bottom (and if you really, really love them you remove the fuzzy choke first).

Steamed Artichokes
Print recipe only here

Trimming an artichoke:
1. Trim the bottom layer or two of leaves and cut off the stem and a bit of the base.
2. Using your sharpest blade, cut the about one-half inch off the top.
3. Using clean kitchen shears, trim the pokie thing off the top of each remaining leaf.

Cooking an artichoke:

1. In a pot with a steamer insert, bring a few inches of water to a boil.
2. Steam for 15-20 minutes until the inner leaves are tender (remove one artichoke carefully and test a leaf or two to make sure).

Eating an artichoke:
1. Allow to cool slightly and serve with a bowl for discarded leaves and aioli, made by combining:

  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 clove garlic, pressed
  • Salt, to taste
Happy artichoke season.

10 comments:

kjh said...

Hi Katie! Artichokes, YUM! My entire family LOPVES them - one night CHristian and I ate 4 of them for dinner - nothing else! Christian and Steve prefer the lemon butter garlic combo - I am a purist and prefer sea salt only, my other two kids like curried mayonaise (just curry powder and mayo) I tried it - quite nice actually, and my dad always made them stuffed with breadcrumbs, chopped italian parsley, parmigiano reggiano cheese, garlic and, olive oil and pinenuts, yum! Talk about wonderful chilhood memories! Anyway, he steamed them with the breading already stuffed inside - oh so superb! Cheers! I'm going to the store for artichockes! Kristine

Katie Fairbank said...

just sea salt? do you put it in the cooking water or dust it on afterward. What's your favorite sea salt anyway? I love the pinkish one that I put in my salt shaker. And the spice shop nearby has some amazing ones - black salt from HI and a red one from I-don't-remember-where. So pretty...

Emily said...

Katie--I'm loving your blog! As a new wife AND mother, I'm just learning how to really cook. I feel like I've turned into my mother, as I'm thinking about dinner as I sip my coffee in the morning. I used to think my mom was nuts when she'd start talking about dinner at 7 a.m!
Matt can't eat gluten (all wheat/food starch), which makes my job challenging. Looking forward to attempting artichokes!

Jen said...

Katie - Thanks for the recommendation! I printed off the blackberry cobbler & chicken with mustard sauce recipe. Can't wait to cook them this week and I think artichokes would definitely complete the meal. I'll let you know how it goes!

Beth said...

I have seen stuffed artichokes being delivered to other tables in restaurants and have always wondered: How do you stuff something that has no cavity? Seriously, I would like to attempt this someday. Can anyone shed some light on the process?

Katie Fairbank said...

Emily - So glad you came! The wife/mother/person-in-charge-of-feeding the family is a big change (especially when adhering to important dietary restrictions). I hope PINCH can help with that.

I think that cooking comes more easily when planned in advance. My dad took it a step further than your mom - we'd be finishing dinner when he'd ask what we thought we should have the next eve!

Jen - I'm making the mustard chicken tonight! I got some really nice-looking artichokes at Trader Joes. What's your favorite produce source?

Beth - check out http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/240554
for direction on how to open the leaves and gut an artichoke. It seems pretty time-consuming - I've never tried it. Alternately, Kristine's dad's stuffing sounds really nice.

kjh said...

Hi to all, and Beth, just stuff you fingers into the leaves of the artichoke and pull outward creating space, then place the stuffing on top and kind of press it in, a lot falls out while you are doing it, so place a plate under the artichoke to catch the overflow and then dump it on top and press in again. It really works!

kjh said...

HI AGain Katie,

Yes, just a dusting of sea salt, sometime some lemon or olive oil to make it stick! I like Himalayan Crystal Salt. It has 82 minerals in it and has a light taste that just makes the flavors of food POP! It is VERY good for you too! We need a lot of salt up here in this altitude, plus I have low blood pressure, so it helps that too! Glad I don't have to shy away - I love the stuff!

Katie Fairbank said...

so you salt it after cooking, right?

I'm very grateful for my own low bp. salt is good stuff.

kjh said...

Yes. Salt after cooking!