Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Non-Memories of Artichokes

 A few weeks ago, I gleefully posted that not only had I had artichokes for the first time, but I made them myself. I declared that I'd done it! I'd made nature's nachos! I was pretty freaking proud of myself.

My mom saw the post and goes "Oh! You used to love artichokes when you were little!" I was baffled. I had no memory of eating this majestic appetizer in any form other than pureed into a dip of some sort at a cheesy chain restaurant.

Somehow, the memory of delicious, delicious artichokes had slipped my mind. But clearly my subconscious knew what was up, because since the initial artichoke cooking I've made them at least five times.

Have you ever prepared artichokes? It looks daunting, but it really isn't. The most important thing is to trim off the sharp barbs (use kitchen scissors). The second most important thing is to cook them until the leaves easily pull off. The third most important thing is to scrape out the inside of the heart, because if you forget then you get a mouthful of softer, yet still pretty painful barbs.

It's a learning process for sure. But it's totally do-able, trust me. They make a wonderful app or side dish, and feel super fancy.

Lemon Butter Artichokes

  • 4 artichoke heads, barbs trimmed off
  • 4 cloves garlic--3 sliced thin, 1 diced fine
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • optional: 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • Enough water to fill 2 inches of a saucepan with cover

Place the garlic slices in between the leaves of the artichokes.

In a saucepan large enough for the four artichokes, pour in water to about 2 inches. Use a steamer basket or place the artichokes in the water, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until you can easily pull a leaf off.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Mix in the diced garlic and lemon juice, and seasoning if using. Set aside.

To eat: gently pull off the petals and dip large end in butter. Use your teeth to scrape off the soft fleshy part of the artichoke, discard the tough end leaf. When you get to the center, use a spoon to carefully remove the fuzzy top layer without scraping away the heart (the soft middle). You can do this end part in the beginning if you're serving to friends, but I like to do it myself because the soft heart is like the prize at the end.

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