Simple Steamed Artichokes
Ever since I was a little kid, fresh steamed artichokes has been one of my absolute favorite dinners. When I was a kid we would wait for girls night to eat these lovely spring vegetables for dinner, since Dad wasn't a big fan.
I can eat two of these for dinner and be in heaven. They are crazy easy, and delicious.
GARLIC + LEMON STEAMED ARTICHOKES
- fresh artichokes
- parmesan cheese
- balsamic glaze
- white balsamic
- olive oil
- 1 garlic clove/artichoke
- lemon slices 1-2 / artichoke
Start by cleaning the artichoke. First cut off the stalk at the base and clean off some of the small and woody leaves around the edges. They tend to be too tough to eat and not really worth saving. You can choose to chop the top off or leave the spiny ends. For this recipe I create a flat top opening up the center and creating a nice surface.
Fill a pan with 1-2 inches of water, sprinkle some salt in there and then arrange your artichokes around the base of the pan. You are probably limited to cook as many as your pot will fit, but don't worry, squishing these guys won't hurt them. Place a garlic clove in the center of the artichoke right in the middle and top with 1-2 lemon slices. Bring the water to a rolling boil and cover. These guys need about 45 minutes to a full hour to steam, depending on the quality of artichoke. During the spring they are nice and tender, so check on them at 40 minutes. They say you can tell if an artichoke is ready by pushing the center open, once done it won't bounce back, but stay open. I say this is sometimes bullshit, and tasting is really the only way you can tell.
While steaming wish together equal parts white balsamic and olive oil. If it's not tart enough, add some fresh lemon juice. Once done, use your tongs and squish the meat of the lemon slices and the garlic clove that will be very soft all around the leaves. Alternatively, you could mash them together with your dressing, but I choose the easy approach.
To serve place the artichoke in a bowl and drizzle with a tiny bit of balsamic glaze (the bottled kind- try alessi brand). Then give it a nice grind of fresh cracked pepper, a little of your dressing (should pool a little in the bottom of the bowl, and a nice heap of parmesan cheese.
A Note for Newbie Artichoke Eaters:
To eat steamed artichokes you pick off each leaf and hold it by the pointy end. Then place the leaf in your mouth with the inner side down. Scrape the leaf's meat. This sounds pretty weird, but soon you will be addicted.
Keep an extra bowl around to discard your scraped leaves. You don't want to sully the bowl you are already using for future use. As you get to the center the leafs are less hardy and more tender, and almost impossible to eat except to bite off the whole bottom section. This is when you can really stop. From here discard the rest of the leaves until you see the weird spiny section covering the heart. Take a knife and cut around the spiny section lifting it right off the center. Now you can cut up the artichoke heart that has been nicely marinating in the dressing. This was coveted in my childhood home.