Amazing How Foods Prepared Simply Can Taste So Good
Artichokes In All Their Glory
Simmered in a bath of fragrant liquid, these beauties make a perfectly simple and satisfying one pot vegetarian entree or an easy and delicious appetizer for sharing.
- Water to fill up the pot 1/3 of the way
- 3 lemons
- 2 large artichokes
- 1/2 cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano or dry thyme or another herb of your liking
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a medium to large pot 1/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water half way, and then halve and squeeze the juice of one lemon into the water. Set aside.
- Clean the artichokes by carefully cutting the points of the leaves with scissors and slicing the top off each with a sharp knife to make them flat like in the photo. Cupping the bottom of an artichoke with the fingers of both hands along side the stem, fan the leaves out from the center with your thumbs while running under cold water, rinsing thoroughly and opening up the artichoke a bit so it cooks more evenly. Slice the stem from the base of the artichoke and peel with a peeler and then slice off the end. Place trimmed artichoke and stem in the lemon water bath to prevent it from browning while you work on the other one.
- Place the cleaned artichokes top side up and their stems in the pot of boiling water. The water should come halfway up the choke. Squeeze the remaining two lemons over the chokes and drop the lemon pieces in the water.
- Add the wine or vinegar, the smashed garlic, oregano, and a liberal shaking of salt and freshly ground black pepper to the water.
- Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the artichokes for 15 minutes. Turn over and simmer for another 15 minutes. Check for doneness by pulling on the outer and inner leaves with tongs. If the leaves come off fairly easily, they are done. They may need an additional few minutes if they are on the extra large side. I have cooked them up to about 40 minutes for the bigger ones.
- Just before your time is up cooking the artichokes, melt the butter in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove and pour half in each of two ramekins. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil in each ramekin, blend and season with salt and pepper. Serve as a dipping sauce for the leaves. You can also use plain commercial or homemade mayonnaise or aioli as a dipping sauce too.
- Drain and place in a serving bowl, and have an additional bowl to place the munched on leaves. In case you've never eaten artichokes before, you eat the leaves by holding the tip with the fleshy edible part upside down and then from half way into the leaf scrape the flesh along your bottom teeth. Make sense? You just don't want to try and eat the entire leaf. Then keep up that process until you reach the very small lighter green leaves that come to a point in the center of the heart. Right below that layer of leaves is where the choke begins.
- Once you've removed those light green thin leaves and have gotten to the hairy choke part, STOP! DONT EAT THE CHOKE! Take a spoon or a butter knife and ease the hairy strands of choke from the circular center and discard. It comes off very easily in clumps. Rinse any remainder of the choke from the heart thoroughly and pat it dry. NOW you can eat the meaty heart and the sometimes too stringy separated stem. I always like the stem myself, but the heart is like a little cup of heaven to me, slathered in the last little bit of that butter oil sauce. Yeah, it's pretty good. Hope you enjoy it too!