A sure sign of that spring is here is the lovely strawberries, asparagus and artichokes that show up in the supermarkets. My store has them right at the entrance beckoning to me.
Artichokes are kinda scary looking - but are ridiculously easy to prepare and delicious. The artichoke is actually a thistle - remember Eeyore? He was a pal of Winnie The Pooh's who loved thistles. You can love thistles too!
Many restaurants prepare artichokes in a lot of olive oil turning them into 1000 calories. This, while tasty, is really unnecessary because they taste great with almost nothing on them. BUT, it is fun to dip them and this is how you will get kids to like them. Kids love dips.
What kind of dip should you use? A mayonnaise based sauce such as hollandaise is normal, but is going to kill you on the calories. I have included a lemon butter dip that is easy and low calorie (as long as you don't eat too much of it).
Okay, for those of you who have never prepped your own artichoke - here is a video: How to Prep Artichokes Video. I have also included written instructions.
To prep, you just need to cut off some leaves with a serrated knife. Below is an example from Amazon of a great serrated knife. If you don't have one - get one- because they are fabulous for cutting tomatoes, artichokes, strawberries, etc.
You can cook them ahead and then leave them in the fridge for when you need a snack. The artichokes photographed here are baby artichokes and were really delicious.
If you are already an artichoke lover check out Ocean Mist. The site has many recipes and advice about artichokes. They have an "Artichoke Aficionado" club - and they are giving away a CASE of artichokes to a new member every week.
2 medium artichokes
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 of lemon
1 clove minced garlic
Cut stem off at base. Cut off top 1/3 of each artichoke. Place artichokes in microwave-safe bowl, base down, and add 1/2 inch of water to the bowl. Cover and microwave for 8 minutes (depending on your microwave). Let stand for 1-2 minutes before uncovering. Check to see if leaves easily detach from artichoke. If not, place artichokes back in microwave for another minute.
Place butter in small bowl. Squeeze lemon into the bowl and add garlic. Microwave for 10 seconds until butter is melted.
Rip leaf off of artichoke and dip in sauce. Place the leaf with the inside facing up (inside of leaf was facing inside of artichoke). Scrape sauce and artichoke with your teeth. When done with leaves eat the artichoke base - it is the best part!
How do you eat artichokes?