Spring Artichokes Steamed
This recipe is very loosely written. There are no hard rules or measurements. It assumes that you have a steamer insert but it is not necessary, though inserts are inexpensive and readily available. This recipe could accommodate 1-4 artichokes. Be sure to choose tight, firm, round artichokes for the most meat.
Prepare a bowl of water large enough to cover your artichokes
Select, quarter and squeeze 1 juicy big lemon into the water
Reserve the lemon quarters to put in the steamer pot
Cut stem of artichoke as close to bottom as you can go so that artichoke can sit flat.
Remove bottom four leaves by pulling them off
With the tip of a knife slice an "x" in bottom
Cut off the top ¼ of the artichoke
Trim leaves by cutting the sharp pointed tip of each leaf off. Kitchen scissors work well for this
Soak the artichokes in the bowl of fresh squeezed lemon water for about 1 hr to help preserve color
Add water to just below the steamer insert
Remove steamer insert
Add to the water 1 tablespoon each of dried Tarragon and Basil, or more!
When the water is boiling place the artichokes top side down on the steamer
Add squeezed lemon quarters
Steam in pot ~ 30 minutes or until a knife slides easily into the bottom and leaves are easily pulled off.
Who ever was the first person to think they'd try eating a thistle, as the artichoke is, thank you for thinking outside the box! There's something so simple yet special about the artichoke...the time and care of prepping. Then pulling the meat off of each leaf with your teeth. The care we take to cut out the choke to get to the heart. I always use a grapefruit spoon to core out the thisitley choke at the core, on top of the heart. Safer, faster and easier than a knife. Aahh! The heart of the artichoke, your sublime reward. Delicious with the scent of tarragon and basil permeating it's flesh. But I've been known to use a "dipping sauce". My favorite being garlic aioli with tarragon but I guess that's not the healthiest alternative! My other favorite is to add fresh pressed garlic and a little squeeze of fresh lemon to butter and melt it until fragrant. But I guess that too is off the health-o-meter. So for a change from the usual mayo or butter dipping sauce I'm going to Martha Stewart and try her Vinegar Shallot Dipping Sauce.