The Art of Cooking Artichokes
RECIPE: EPISODE #112
THE COMPANION COOKBOOK: JAZZY VEGETARIAN, Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious © LAURA THEODORE 2011/ Published by: Book Publishing Company
Artichokes are my focus this week. In his book “150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” Dr. Jonny Bowden describes artichokes as the “Lobster of the vegetable community.” I’ve gotta say, I agree. I have always loved artichokes since I was a girl. Many people are hesitant to prepare artichokes but I am here today to take away the mystique behind serving this jazzy-licious, super healthy veggie.
If you haven’t been fortunate enough to enjoy freshly cooked artichokes, you may feel stymied about how to eat them. Simply pull off the leaves one at a time, starting with the outermost leaves near the bottom of the artichoke. Draw the base of the leaf through your clenched teeth to scrape off the soft portion, and discard the rest of the leaf. As you progress upward from the base, the leaves will become more tender, with larger edible portions. When you reach the hairy choke, remove and discard it using a teaspoon. What remains is the artichoke heart, which you can then cut and eat. Be sure to provide empty bowls at the table for discarding the inedible part of the leaves.
Artichokes are great when served as a first course or side dish. Try serving them any night of the week or on more festive occasions when you want to dazzle your guests with an elegant meal. Artichokes make an especially attractive dish. For each serving, try arranging one artichoke in the center of a salad plate, placed on top of a decorative dinner plate with a small bowl of “Lemon Dipping Sauce” offered on the side.
So…please don’t be intimidated by artichokes. Once cleaned and trimmed, they’re easy to cook. Plus, they are packed with fiber and anti-oxidants and are low in calories. So here is my fabulous: RECIPE OF THE WEEK:
Easy Artichokes with Lemon Dipping Sauce
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1⁄2 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic, cider, or red wine vinegar
4 artichokes, trimmed (see note)
LEMON DIPPING SAUCE
1⁄2 cup vegan margarine
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
To prepare the artichokes, put 3 to 4 inches of water in a deep saucepan large enough to hold all the artichokes snugly so they remain upright as they cook. Add the onion and vinegar. Put the artichokes in the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the artichokes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the artichokes halfway through the cooking time. They are done when an outer leaf peels off easily.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt the margarine in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
Serve the artichokes warm, with the dipping sauce alongside in small bowls.
NOTE: To trim and clean artichokes, cut off the top 1⁄2 to 1 inch of each artichoke to remove the spiky tips. Cut off any remaining spiky tips with kitchen shears. Trim away the tough edges of the stem. Put the artichokes in a large bowl and cover with cold salted water. Soak for 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse each artichoke under cold water, spreading the leaves to rinse out any residual dirt or sand.