Springtime is here and so are fresh artichokes. All through my childhood and even now, I look forward to finding fresh artichokes at the produce market every spring and summer. My mother cooks artichokes in so many ways – steamed with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil to dip the leaves in and ultimately the tender heart was most definitely our favorite. It’s also the easiest method to prepare artichokes and most exciting way to eat them. It all starts by choosing the artichoke with closed tight and dark green leaves, tender inner leaves and tender stem without any dents.
Before moving on to preparing and eating this amazing vegetable – A few facts are worth mentioning that I have learned while researching the history of artichokes. This vegetable isn’t only delicious it’s also high in fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants. It also helps lower cholesterol, fight aging, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. One more convincing fact to make artichoke part of your diet is: (drum roll…) one medium artichoke has only 60 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. Very impressive!!!
Here’s how to make it….
- 2 medium fresh artichokes
- ½ lemon
- Dipping Sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Wash them with cold water. Cut the stem down to about an inch.
- Lay the artichoke on its side and cut ¾ inch from the top.
- Cut off the tips of the petals to remove the thorny tips with kitchen scissors.
- Using a medium saucepan with about 2 inches of water, a generous pinch of salt and half of a lemon; place the artichokes upside-down and cook covered on high to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 25-35 minutes or until the leaves pull out easily and the base is fork tender.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together crushed garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Serve artichokes warm with garlic lemon sauce for dipping.
To eat remove a leaf from the artichoke, dip it in the garlic lemon sauce and scrape the meaty part with your teeth. Yes, one leaf at a time working your way to its tender heart. First you remove and discard the choke (small light, thistle like and prickly… don’t know how better to describe them)
The heart is the favored part of the artichoke, succulent and meaty, cut it into pieces and enjoy it with the garlic lemon sauce.
Make steamed artichokes for an easy appetizer or as an accompaniment to meat and pasta dishes.