We love artichokes but don’t have them very often because they’re usually quite pricey for the quality. When we see artichokes as good looking as these we buy them without even considering the price. The stems were thick, the petals were nice and tight yet the artichokes gave a nice squeak when squeezed.
I see a lot of people remove the stem and several layers of the lower leaves. There is a lot of good meat in the stem that many let go to waste. I might peel off and discard the tiniest petals on the stem itself but otherwise I like to get every bit of goodness. I think part of the joy of eating an artichoke is that the reward starts out small with just a tiny edible portion on the lower outer leaves. The further and deeper one goes the greater the reward, with more and more meat on the inner petals. Then the greatest reward is reached when one finally gets to the heart.
A lot of people go to the trouble of “properly” trimming the petals because of the thorny tips. I have never done that. I know it’s a corny thing to say, but I don’t see the point. I have been eating artichokes since I was a toddler and have no physical or psychological scars from being pricked by the thorns.
While the artichokes were steaming I put together a dipping sauce. I tend to favor a mayonnaise type dip but did something different this time. The ingredients I used were:
- whole baby cucumber
- lemon juice
- lemon zest
- lemon balm (melissa) herb
- fresh dill weed
- dijon mustard
- sesame seeds
- melted butter
I blended all the ingredients until smooth then put the dipping sauce in the refrigerator to chill and slightly thicken. We found the addition of sugar to be essential to temper the sourness of the lemon.