With this easy-to-follow steam and spices recipe for preparing artichokes, you’ll find these hearty flowers an accessible side dish for any entrée. Though you may find them tasty enough to make them the star!
The Wonder Flower
Though it may be hard to believe when you see them in the grocery store, artichokes are a flower! A big one at that. The stalk of an artichoke flower can grow 3-4 feet in height and measure up to 6 feet in diameter. To grow an artichoke takes time, patience and a steady green thumb.
Of course, when harvesting artichokes for consumption, you must pick them before they bloom. But they sure are beautiful to see!
Interested in growing your own artichokes? Read more here.
Cooking Artichokes at Home
Artichokes are hearty, succulent, and bursting with richness. Look for bigger artichokes, with more green leaves than purple. This will ensure they are mature enough to be tender, and will yield a big heart (the best part!).
How to Steam the Artichokes
Essentially, this is a type of “set it and forget it” recipe. Prep and clean the artichokes, add your spices, and set it on the stove to steam.
Make sure you check on your artichokes periodically to ensure that there is sufficient water left in the pot.
If you forget the artichokes and all of the water evaporates, don’t fear! You’re artichokes will be okay. Add the water back in and continue cooking. Better to learn from my mistakes and keep an eye on it (wink wink).
- 2 whole artichokes
- Artichoke Seasoning Blend 1 teaspoon each of the following: salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, oregano, thyme
Garlic Butter Aioli
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter (equivalent to ¼ cup – typically ½ stick in US) substitute vegan butter if desired.
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise Best Foods Mayonnaise recommended, can use any preferred mayo, including olive oil based or vegan.
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ½ tsp salt
For the Artichokes
- Trim the stems off the bottom of the artichokes. Cut them flush with the bottom of the artichoke. Turn artichoke over. Using kitchen shears, trim the spiny leaves by cutting off the tips only, less than a fingertip in length.Create space between the leaves by gently opening them up a bit. You can to this by holding the artichoke right-side up and gently pushing the leaves apart. This helps ensure the artichokes will cook evenly.
- Choose a pot that is wide enough to fit both artichokes stem side up. Add the seasonings to the bottom of the pot. Then, place the artichokes on top. Fill the pot with water until the artichokes are covered about halfway. A drizzle of olive oil in the pot is recommended, but not required.
- Cover the pot with a secure lid. Turn the stove to medium high heat, bringing the water to a boil. Once boiling, turn down a touch to a simmer and set a timer for 45 minutes.
- Check the artichokes periodically over the 45 minutes. If too much water has evaporated, add more. Keep the lid on the pot while cooking, as this is what builds the steam.
- The artichokes are done when a fork slides through the bottoms easily. To remove from the pot, turn off the heat. Slide a slotted spoon underneath the artichokes to help lift and balance while holding the artichoke with a set of tongs. Set on a plate to drain and cool while you prep the aioli.
For the Garlic Butter Aioli
- Combine garlic, salt and butter. Melt — either in a microwave at short intervals (15 seconds), in a glass bowl in a toaster oven or in a small pot on the stove.
- In a heatsafe bowl, add mayonaise to the garlic butter mixture. Whisk vigorously to emulsify.The butter and mayonaise will come together to create a smooth dip.
- Enjoy the aioli with artichokes immediately.
- MAKE IT VEGAN
- Use vegan butter and vegan mayonnaise for the aioli. Alternatively, make artichokes as directed and serve with a garlic olive oil dip.
- HOW TO EAT IT
- Once the artichoke is cool enough to handle, turn it so the stem side is down on the plate.
- Remove leaves one by one, (the outer leaves are always tougher), dip into the aioli and enjoy.
- Once you’ve made it to the middle of the artichoke, the leaves become very soft. To access the heart, remove all excess leaves, including the smaller ones that are often purple in color. Beneath the leaves you’ll find a layer of spiky hair-like area. Remove using a spoon or knife. Beneath it is the heart!
- Caution: Be sure to remove all the hairy spikes and do not ingest. They can cause throat irritation and are a choking hazard.