Artichokes

I love artichokes and always look forward to their first appearance in the stores. They’ve been around of a while at this point, and I’ve been steadily munching my way through them each week. I like to boil or steam them and pluck off the leaves one by one. My favorite dip involves roughly 4 parts mayonaise to one part dijon mustard, spiked with a few drops of tabasco sauce and a good sized dash of dill. I actually have no idea as to the amounts, since I have never measured any of the quantities; I measure by color. Sometimes it’s nice to have a recipe that you don’t have to think about.
As an alternative, I recommend lemon juice and sea salt.

7 comments

  1. i had artichokes for dinner tonight! try roasting them with onions, tossed with a bit of oil, salt and pepper. its definetely a recipe that requires no thought and yet is rewarding.

  2. I boil my artichokes and still prefer them with no dressing at all. Just plain vanilla, munching and discarding each leave and then the core.

    Fresh artichokes I always eat on their own, as an appetizer.

    The canned variety I use in salads and do need dressing because they always taste somewhat vinegary to me

  3. Tanvi – That sounds so good. I think I’ll try that next time I’m using artichokes. Maybe on a pizza!

    Ana – I agree that the fresh artichokes are best eaten on their own. I like to use canned hearts in recipes. Somehow I just get all choked up at the thought of not using so much of the fresh one!

  4. I love artichokes too. Not being the hugest fan of mayo, I make Bagna Cauda to dip them in. It’s a combination of butter, olive oil, anchovy, and garlic– with those ingredients how could that be bad.

  5. Cold artchokes make a great salad, too. I steam them (first cutting off the stickery tops of the leaves, sprinkling salt inside the leaves, and drizzling them with garlic oil from Costco), refrigerate them, then before serving, I gently open up the leaves enough to scrape out the “choke” and the fuzz on the heart. Then I fill the hole that’s left with my choice of dressing. I love homemade garlic mayonaise the best, but even a hot haollandaise is good with these cold artichokes.

    Has anyone seen the completely purple ones sold this season at Whole Foods? They seem to take longer to steam, but are so incredibly tender. The hearts are smaller, but the fuzz comes off as easily as a leaf, it doesn’t have to be scraped off the heart.

    My son takes them to school (he prefers Kraft Mayo, sorry about that) for lunch, so I cook lots of artichokes. We introduced them to our German exchange student, who adores them. My mother used to make me sandwiches of mashed artichoke hearts with a dab of mayo back in the ’50s. I was considered quite an oddball for not having pbj or bologne, but I really liked those sandwiches, even on Wonder Bread. My modern equivalent is roughly chopped fresh cooked artichoke heart bound with a little of that garlic mayo on bruschetta, sprinkled with a few very small diced pieces of tomato, or a last minute drizzle of that Costco garlic olive oil. Yum!

    I have not had great success with roasting ‘chokes, unless they are very small and tender, but I love the flavor roasting brings to them, so I steam them first, then finish them in the oven, after stuffing the leaves with an italian style bread stuffing. I dip those leaves in a mixture of that Costco garlic oil and a little balsamic vinegar or bagna cauda.

    When I lived in Monterey, CA, a friend in the produce business gave me a huge burlap bag full of the lovliest tiny fresh artichokes, but way too many to cook at once; so I canned ‘em! I got the recipe from the UC Extension Service (do state extension services still exist? They always had fantastic resources for cooks), and canned over 60 – 1/2 pints of them. We enjoyed them for a year.

    For un-vinegary chokes, buy the frozen ones. The vinegary ones, well-drained, are wonderful in fritattas with some onion, and some cheddar or parmesan cheese.

    I guess y’all can tell I use them a lot in my kitchen, huh? That same son above had deep fried artichokes from a food cart in Rome last fall, and thought he was in heaven. I think that method is called Carciofi alla Romana. I have never bothered to fry something so good cooked simply, but maybe one day…

    The Italians also make an aperativo from artichokes called Cynar. It is great to serve with hors d’ouerves because it makes everything else taste more intense. It is hard to find, though. Somebody brought me a bottle from NYC. Serve it on the rocks with a twist of orange peel and a splash of soda, or straight up in tiny glasses as a digestif after dinner. It is bitter, like German Jaegermeister.

  6. I love how everyone has their own artichoke dips and traditions. And people say that vegetable are boring!
    And I got some of the purple ones at Trader Joes. I didn’t like them as much as the regular ones. True, I got them early in the season, but they didn’t have as much meat in the heart! I’m willing to scoop out some choke in exchange for more meat.

  7. At least once a year we have artichokes with hollandaise sauce. After a recent hollandaise fix, we went through a phase of having plain artichokes – boiled then pulling leaves off one by one and eating them as they were (delicious), dipped in a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and pepper, (also delicious) or dipped into Danish blue cheese and mayonnaise (equally delicious)

    I love artichokes! Tanvi, I like your idea of roasting them with onion, oil, salt and pepper.

    -Elizabeth

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