(Mass Appeal) – We are smack dab in the middle of artichoke season and if you are at a loss on how to prepare – and eat – this spikey vegetable, do not despair! The lovely Betty Rosbottom, cookbook author and chef, shows us how to make artichokes with a lemon vinaigrette dipping sauce.
Cooking artichokes, no matter the size, is simple. You need a sharp knife to trim off the tops and the stems, and a pair of scissors to remove the pointed tips from the leaves. Then you cook them in a large pot of simmering water for 30 to 45 minutes depending on their size until tender. Artichokes are typically served with a dipping sauce, either a vinaigrette or melted butter with a hint of lemon. For extra flavor, you can add chopped mint or chives to the lemon butter.
4 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 medium to large artichokes
Freshly ground black pepper
- For the vinaigrette, place the lemon juice, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a medium nonreactive bowl. Whisk well to combine. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the shallots. Taste and add additional lemon juice if desired. (Vinaigrette can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes and whisk well before using.)
- To cook the artichokes, fill a large nonreactive pot (with a lid) 2/3 full with water, set it over high heat, and bring to a boil.
- While the water is heating, prepare the artichokes. Using a sharp knife, cut off the stems so that the artichokes will sit upright without wobbling. Place each artichoke on its side and with the knife cut off 3/4 inch from the top. Use scissors to trim the sharp-pointed tips from the leaves. Place the trimmed artichokes in the pot and cover with a lid slightly ajar.
- Cook until artichoke bases are tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 35 minutes for medium artichokes, 45 to 50 minutes or longer for larger ones. Artichokes are done when a sharp knife can pierce their bases easily and when the leaves around the bases can be pulled off easily. (Artichokes can be cooked 2 hours ahead; leave them in the water in which they were cooked, and reheat until warm if necessary.) Remove artichokes from water and drain upside down on a dinner plate.
- Arrange artichokes upright on two salad plates. Spread open leaves, and using tongs pull out the inner pale green leaves and fibrous strands and discard. Salt and pepper the cavities of the artichokes. Divide the lemon vinaigrette between 2 small ramekins or bowls. Serve each artichoke with a bowl of sauce. Pull off the leaves and dip in the sauce. Eat the tender part at the base of the artichoke leaf by pulling it through your teeth. Discard eaten leaves. When you get to the heart in the center of the artichoke, cut it into pieces and dip in the sauce. Serve warm. Serves 2.