Serving
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Artichoke, Steamed
California

Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
2 app  
**
1 hr  
No
Artichokes are a favorite vegetable here in California, where nearly every fresh artichoke in North America is grown. They are still rather seasonal, price-wise, but by varying cultivars and growing areas they are now available all year. Artichokes can be boiled, but they get a little waterlogged, so I prefer steaming.


2
a/r

Artichokes (1)  
Dip (2)

Note:   If you cut artichokes you need to have a bowl of acidulated water (citric acid or lemon juice) to plunge them into immediately they are cut to prevent discoloring.   Note:   Don't cut artichokes with a carbon steel knife, it will not only discolor them but affect the flavor. Use stainless knives only.

  1. Prepare the ARTICHOKES for steaming. If the variety you have is a thorny one, cut off about an inch at the tip and then use kitchen shears to cut just the tip off each leaf. Thornless varieties need no preparation unless they are so large they need to be split in half. Note: don't cut the stems short, particularly if you are boiling rather than steaming - the artichoke will become watery.
  2. Set Artichokes in your steamer. If cut in half, cut side down if possible. Make sure the steamer has plenty of water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down enough to maintain a medium boil and steam until done.
  4. While the artichokes are steaming, prepare your sauce.
  5. Artichokes should be done in about 3/4 hour to an hour depending on size. To determine if they are done, try to gently tug out a large leaf (use tongs). When a gentle tug pulls the leaf out the artichoke is done.
  6. Serve immediately. If serving whole artichokes, trim the stem and set them upright in a small bowl - if half artichokes, serve as in the photo. In any case, you will need sauce and preferably a cocktail spoon.
NOTES:
  1. Artichokes:   For a light lunch, one medium artichoke (green globe, for instance) will do for each person, or, if you have very large artichokes (Lyon, for instance) you may want to split it in half before steaming. For a light appetizer a half green globe is just fine. For more on artichokes see our Thistles page.
  2. Sauce / Dip:   I prefer a very simple dip of 1/4 cup each: Lemon Juice, White Wine and Butter - herbs optional, and a little salt if using unsalted butter. The French, of course, prefer a thick, often mayonnaise based sauce where the sauce is the feature and you can hardly taste the artichoke. The Italians and Greeks lean more my way.
  3. Fancy Recipes:   Some people, particularly chefs, insist on coming up with all kinds of recipes for stuffed artichokes and other complex creations. Perhaps this is because artichokes are expensive in many regions, but I think chefs are just allergic to plain. In my opinion this is all a major waste of time - with artichokes simple is better.
  4. Chokes:   This is the fuzzy seed layer over the heart. Many recipes call for opening the artichoke and spooning out the choke. This is necessary if you're going to stuff it, but I feel stuffing them is a distraction. You can spoon off the choke when you're done with the leaves, but I just pull out tufts of the choke, dip the seed ends in the sauce and bite off the nutritious seeds before disposing of the fuzz. Yes, this may seem a little barbaric, but that's just the way I am. I paid for those seeds and I'm not going to throw them out.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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