Steamed Artichoke with Lemon-Shallot Dip
An easy spring appetizer. Start to finish -- approximately 50 minutes, so start early, but 45 minutes of that is simply steaming time.
"Love this! Always loved artichokes, never knew how to cook with them. So easy to throw together. When I make it again I might not bother snipping off the leaf-ends if in a real rush, the non-edible tips might make good "handles". But listen to the recipe and don't try and short-cut with poor-quality shelf mayo :s
Thanks to recipe-poster!
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|1 wholeArtichoke; see preparation below|
|-- Lemon-Shallot Dip --; optional|
|3 tablespoonMayonnaise; high quality or fresh homemade|
|Freshly ground pepper; to taste|
|1/2 Shallot; minced|
|-- Melted Butter Dip --; optional|
|3 tablespoonButter; melted|
|1 small cloveGarlic; crushed; optional|
Steamed Artichoke with Lemon-Shallot Dip Preparation
Artichokes are a delicious appetizer if prepared properly.
If it's your first time preparing an artichoke, you might be surprised just how much "waste" there is in artichoke preparation, but it's worth it -- the leaves and core are delicious.
To prepare, first cut off the top inch or so. Then, cut off the bottom stem to allow a flat sitting surface for the artichoke. (You can and should trim this stem and throw it in the steamer pot. The stem is pretty yummy when steamed, but varies a great deal by the artichoke that you have.)
Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, starting from the outermost leaves, cut off each leaf's pointy tip, about 1/2 inch. If it's the first time you're making an artichoke, you may feel that you're cutting away too many good parts -- but don't worry, there's plenty of leaves still left. You want to cut it fairly aggressively, to avoid the most fibrous parts.
Bring a steamer (or a large stockpot with 1-2 inches of water) to a boil, covered.
If you're saving the stem, put it in first, then place the prepared artichoke in the steamer, stem side down. Ideally you've elevated the artichoke over the water -- like most vegetables, artichokes aren't as delicious if they've been boiled -- you're looking to steam them. Steam for 40-45 minutes.
Prepare Lemon-Shallot dip: Slice lemon in half, squeeze half the lemon's juice into a small dipping container. Mix in dill, mayonnaise, freshly ground pepper and minced shallots.
Optionally, prepare melted butter: Melt butter, mix in crushed garlic (optional).
To enjoy the artichoke, break off leaves, starting with the outer leaf, and dip. Use your teeth to scrape off the flesh of the leaf and the dip. Once you get down to the core, remove the prickly purple "choke", and indulge in the nutty taste of the best part of the artichoke -- the heart -- which should be soft and delicious.
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