This funny, beautiful, prickly vegetable is a culinary marvel. I wonder, who on earth was the first one to try to eat it? I just don't know what kind of person would have thought to eat an Artichoke! Just look at it! It's sorta like eating a pine cone! But bless the pioneer's heart for being the first to try!
I adore artichokes! I have been happily eating the marinaded kind in a jar for years! And if an item on a menu had artichokes in it, it would be my first choice to order. But it was only several years ago I braved making my own steamed artichokes at home. Why did I wait so long?
Making artichokes... and eating them for that matter, is not a difficult procedure. All that is needed is a couple of fresh artichokes and the right technique.
If you have never eaten artichokes, seize the moment and try one! New experiences help us to grow and live adventuresome lives! Not to mention Artichokes are elegant vegetables who's taste and eating experience is sublime!
Starting at the bottom of the artichoke, snip the tips off of each petal with kitchen shears. The petals have a little thorn at the end that must be snipped off. There is no need to snip the tips of the top 1/5 of the petals as they will be cut off later.
It is easy if you hold the artichoke on it's side in the palm of your hand and snip.
Cut the top 1/5 of the artichole off with a SHARP knife. Be very careful, it is a little tough to cut.
Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon liberally all over the artichoke, paying special attention to the cut off ends. This will keep it from discoloring.
Put the artichokes in a heavy saucepan filled with a couple of inches of water and cut lemons.
Simmer on medium low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. I don't undercook the artichoke because the center does not get done.
Meanwhile, make a lemon mayonnaise dipping sauce.
In a bowl, mix mayonnaise with the juice of a half to one whole lemon and set aside. There are many recipes for dipping sauce, but it am a purist! The flavors of the artichoke and lemon are just perfect!
When the artichokes have been steamed, remove them from the water with tongs.
Place artichokes on a plate along with the dipping sauce and extra lemons.
How To Eat An Artichoke: Technique
Starting at the bottom of the artichoke, pull the petals off 1 at a time.
The end closest to the artichoke has a little plump area of pulpy "flesh". It it the end that is dipped into the sauce. The other end of the petal is not edible. Hold on to that end.
Dip the "good stuff" end in the dipping sauce and turn the dip side of the artichoke over and place the end in your mouth. Make sure you are firmly gripping the petal. Gently bite down on the petal, but do not break the flesh. Pull the petal through your teeth squeezing out the delicious pulpy material inside. Enjoy the luscious flavor of the artichoke mingled with the dipping sauce.
Discard the petal. I keep a "discard" bowl on hand.
Continue to pull off the petals and eat them until you get to the very inner petals of the artichoke and the petals have no more pulp in them.
At this point peel off the rest of the petals until you get to the "choke" a fiberous, fuzzy looking disc.
The heart can then be cut up, dipped in the lemon mayonnaise and eaten. Double YUM! The heart may not look as pretty as the rest of the artichoke, but it is so very delicious and worth the trouble to get to them.
Eating an artichoke is an EVENT! Fun and exotic, wouldn't this be fun to eat with your Valentine?