Monday, May 9, 2011

Steamed Artichokes

I LOVE artichokes. If I can find them in the grocery store for a dollar or less, I get them every time. My favorite way to eat them is steamed with a little lemon juice and mayo or melted butter. Yummm!

Steamed Artichokes
artichokes (best in late spring and early summer)
lemon juice (fresh is best, but I often use bottled)
something to dip them in (I like mayo, my husband likes melted butter)

-It can be a little tricky to pick the right artichoke. Look for one that feels heavy for its size and has tightly packed leaves.
-Using a sharp knife cut off the stem end of the artichoke and using the point of the knife make an X in the bottom.
-Then use the knife to cut off the top of the artichoke to make it flat. I sometimes cut off as much as 2 inches of the top. The part you eat is mainly at the bottom, so don't worry about cutting off too much.
-Rinse the artichokes under the faucet. Be sure to rinse the top really good so water gets between the leaves. This will not only help get rid of any dirt, but will help with the steaming as well.
-Place the artichokes, top down, in a glass casserole dish and lightly cover. I like to use my round Pyrex dish that came with a glass lid. I can fit 3-4 artichokes in it. The lid usually won't close tightly, but that's ok. You actually want some of the steam to be able to vent out.
-Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes per artichoke. The water from rinsing will steam them and the X in the stem helps some of the steam escape.
-You know they are done when you can easily pierce the stem with a fork.
-Carefully turn them right side up and squeeze lemon juice on top.
-To eat, pull off one leaf at a time and dip the base of the leaf in mayo or melted butter and scrape off the meat with your teeth.
*Note the outer-most leaves may be too tough to eat. Just pull them off and discard.
-Once you get to the middle where the leaves are flimsy and have little meat, you can either discard the rest (but that would be a shame) or cut off the top and the choke (the hairy stuff) to expose the artichoke heart. Mmm!
My artichokes all prepped and ready to be cooked.
One of the tasty leaves after the meat is scraped off. It may seem like a lot of work for a little bit of meat, but all those leaves add up fast. And it is so worth it!

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