I was excited to see artichokes in our CSA share this week. There were four little ones, which is perfect for our family. Although I've had steamed artichokes many times, I've never been the one to cook them before, so I had to look up how to prepare them. Then I had to share what I learned with you. I found the dip recipe here.
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. (or so) lemon juice
Ground cayenne (just a dash; optional)
Rinse the artichokes, scrubbing gently. Using a serrated knife, trim about 1/2 to 1 inch off of the top and about 1/2 inch off of the stem of each artichoke. You might be tempted to cut off the entire stem so that the artichoke will sit up nicely on a plate, but the stem is part of the artichoke heart (the best part!), so you'll be missing out if you do. If you want to help prevent the trimmed ends from browning, rub a little lemon juice on them. Put an inch or two of water in a large pot. Put a steamer basket/steamer insert into the pot, making sure the water is below the level of the steamer. Put the artichokes into the steamer, stem side up, and cover the pot. Bring the water to a boil, and steam the artichokes until tender. To check for tenderness, pierce the base of one of the steamed artichokes with a sharp knife. If the knife slides through easily, the artichokes are ready to eat. Our small artichokes took 15 minutes to cook.
When you're ready to eat, mix the butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and cayenne.
Pull off an artichoke petal, dip the fleshy end of it in the butter/mayo dip, and scrape off the flesh with your teeth. Compost the rest of the petal. Once all the petals are gone, you'll be faced with a somewhat scary looking fuzzy part in the center of the base (unless your artichokes are baby ones like ours were, in which case there won't be much fuzz). Scoop out the fuzz (a.k.a. the choke), if present. What's left is the artichoke heart. Devour it.
These were good. The outer petals were tough and had no flesh to scrape off; we actually had to pull off a lot of petals before we got to edible ones. But once we got there, they were tender and tasty. The dip was incredible.