Sunday, August 17, 2008
There are few things better than a steamed artichoke. I grew up on these. They were my father's favorite. And when you serve these yummy leaves with a caper-mayonnaise dipping sauce you can do no wrong. Artichokes are pointy, prickly and weird looking. So when you serve these to someone that doesn't spend that much time in the kitchen they are really impressed. Truth is they are a piece of cake if you have a sharp knife and a pair of kitchen scissors.
When selecting artichokes, choose those whose petals have not opened far. The tighter and more compact the artichoke, the fresher.
1/2 lemon, squeezed
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 bay leaf
Cut off or trim end of artichoke stem. Create a 'cross' slit on the bottom of the steam but not very deep. If desired, snip thorny tip off each leaf with kitchen scissors. Wash artichokes, taking care to shake out excess water so they will not be soggy when steamed. Place in a vegetable steamer, covered, over boiling water and add the juice of a half lemon, the olive oil and bay leaf. Steam for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size. The artichokes are ready when one of outer leaves can easily be removed. Serve with caper-mayonnaise.
1/3 cup of mayonnaise (the real stuff, please)
2 tablespoons capers, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons of dried tarragon
Whisk all contents together with a fork and serve cold.