Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recipes | The Beauty of the Steamed Artichoke

When I was about 12-years-old, I read a beautifully constructed paragraph about asparagus. How young and green and tender they were, equally delicious whether they were lightly cooked and seasoned with salt, lemon and butter or grilled under a broiler with a spattering of melted parmesan on top.

I can remember (and taste) the disappointment when I realized I hate asparagus. I had so been looking forward to how amazing they were going to be and then it turns out that I hate them. I still feel guilty about it. I mean, what kind of foodie doesn’t like asparagus???

Anyway….transfer all of my gagging, nose-wrinkling, hatered of the asparagus to the globular beauty of the artichoke….ahhhh. It’s like coming home. THIS is the feeling I was so excited to have when I read that article long ago about asparagus. It was just the wrong vegetable.

Artichokes are beautiful, easy to prepare and have the added bonus of making any meal seem elegant and layered with devotion by your loving hands. Well and let’s just face facts…..artichokes are simply a vehicle for butter.

Take this afternoon, for example. I was ravenous (when am I not?), and in 20 minutes tops I had a lunch that was more grown up than a sandwich and chips but really took no effort on my part. 

I think most young women who are faced with their very own kitchen for the first time are intimidated by the whole “preparing their own artichoke” scenario. Don’t be. It’s so easy my Roo dog could do it and she doesn’t even have opposing thumbs.

Start by cutting off the stem and pulling the first few layers of leaves off the artichoke. Don’t be worried, just rip the suckers off. They don’t taste as good.

You can snip the tops of the leaves off the next few layers if you feel like it and if you can find a pair of scissors. If you don’t feel like it, then don’t! I just like the way it looks, so I snip ‘em.

Add a few inches of water into a saucepan, place your artichokes into a vegetable basket and turn the heat on high. Add a tight fitting lid and steam your artichokes for 20-40 minutes, it will depend on how big they are. You can tell they are ready when you stab the bottom of the artichoke and the stem feels soft!

About 5 minutes prior to your artichokes being done, melt a cube of butter over low heat. Serve artichokes with chilled white wine beer and a big, empty bowl for the discarded leaves.


xo xo Liz 

1 comment:

  1. Liz, there are two camps of artichoke lovers -- the melted butter people and the mayonnaise people. I'm one of the latter. I like to use a good *real* mayonnaise thinned with a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice. But I won't complain about the butter either!