Scraping the leaf of a freshly steamed artichoke with your teeth is a pleasure that’s hard to put into words. There’s something so satisfying about peeling away a perfectly tender leaf, dipping it into something delicious, and working away at a beautiful artichoke right in front of you. It forces you to slow down and enjoy the food and company at the table. It’s a super satisfying way to start a meal and can make any dinner party feel a little bit more special.
While we never really had steamed artichokes in my house growing up, my neighbors who lived behind us always did. It was such a treat to join them for dinner and learn an entirely new food and process of eating.
I didn’t really get to enjoy them again until adulthood when I was at a friend’s house for a couple’s dinner. We sat around drinking red wine, deconstructing artichokes, and laughing the night away. Eating a steamed artichoke feels nostalgic, I guess.
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I think steamed artichokes get sidelined because of the perception of how timely they are to make and well, consume. But the truth is, once you know what you’re doing, preparing an artichoke is really quite simple.
A few dipping ideas:
- Mayo and malt vinegar. This is unbelievably good. Mix personal bowls of mayo and a few tablespoons of malt vinegar. Stir to combine and enjoy the tangy, salty, creamy, yummy with each bite of artichoke.
- Balsamic and Oil. A classic mix with some salt and pepper.
- Olive Oil and Parmesan. Another fool-proof dipper.
- Melted Butter. Take the seafood approach and dip in some melted butter. I like mine slightly beginning to solidify again.
- Cutting Board
- Kitchen Shears
- Sharp Knife
- Steamer Basket
- Lidded Soup Pot
- Serving Dishes
- 1 large artichoke, per person
- Rinse and dry your artichokes in preparation for trimming and steaming.
- Cut, using a very sharp knife, the stems of the artichokes 1 of 2 ways. Either remove the stems entirely, or trim them and peel the exterior skin.
- Using your knife, cut off the tops of the artichokes, about 1-2 inches down. Discard the cut pieces
- Using your kitchen shears, work around and trim off the pointed top of each leaf. This will remove any thorns and dried out pieces.
- Fill the soup pot with about 3 inches of water, or until it just touches the bottom of the steamer basket. Place the basket in the out and squeeze the artichokes together to stand upright. Depending on how many you need to prepare, do this in multiple pots.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Once the pot is to a boil, turn on a timer for 30 minutes and walk away.
- Prepare any dips that you will serve and remove the cooked artichokes from the steamer basket. Once cooled slightly, force the artichokes to open slightly and serve!
- Once all the leaves have been removed, scoop out the fibrous hairs in the artichoke heart and eat the base! Enjoy.
If you would prefer to wear gloves to avoid any pricking, feel free to do so.
There are two ways to trim the stems. Either by removing them entirely or trimming down and peeling away the fibrous skin. The latter is better for preparing artichoke hearts for dips and other culinary uses. The former is better for serving just as steamed, for they’ll sit upright comfortably in the plate or bowl.