little choked up

cooking for one... or two

Categories: Appetizers, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on May 9, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten

Many are in month two of wondering what to cook for one or two. If you need a little inspiration don’t fret, because guess what? It’s artichoke season! Perhaps it’s been a long time since you steamed an artichoke, or maybe you never have. Well you’re in for a treat.

Cooking up an artichoke is a simple affair. Basically, just cut off the stem and plunk it in a bit of simmering water. If you choose, you could fuss it up by clipping the leaves and trimming the top. But let’s be honest- nowadays who’s into complicating something just for appearance sake?

I’m also sharing my go-to artichoke sauce. It’s embarrassingly effortless, and a divine dunk for the leaves and heart.

For steamed artichokes you want to begin by picking the right ones. An artichoke is actually the bud of a thistle. Look for large artichokes with tight leaves. Leaves that are closed rather than flayed open indicate they are young and fresh. Also, you’ll want artichokes that are heavier verses lighter, for light ones might mean they are dried out.

Next choose a large pan with a tight-fitting lid that will comfortably hold the artichokes vertically. Fill the pan with one inch of water and bring to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and two lemon slices.

Meanwhile, rinse the artichokes and cut off the stem one inch from the base. You might need to trim it a couple times so that it stands level. If desired remove the small bottom leaves, but you really don’t have to. 

Cut an “x” in the bottom of each stem. This will help the heart and leaves cook evenly.

Place the artichokes standing up in the water on their stems. Cover and steam for approximately 40 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated. Add more water if needed to keep it near one inch.

Starting at 30 minutes, carefully remove the lid and try to pull out one of the artichoke leaves. If it won’t come, cover and continue to steam. 

Once a leaf pulls off easily, the base is tender. Note that the cooking time will vary greatly due to the size of the artichoke. So keep a watchful and flexible eye.

With tongs remove the artichokes from the pan and place on a plate to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day. The artichokes can also be served warm straight from the pan, or at room temperature.

To serve place the artichokes on a dinner plate with a ramekin of dipping sauce (see recipe below). To eat- remove the leaves one at a time, dip lightly in the sauce then scape the flesh off with your teeth.

Continue until you reach the soft inner leaves. 

Then with a sharp knife...

Cut away the fuzzy inedible choke from the tender smooth heart.

 Cut the heart into pieces and enjoy.

The dipping sauce is simply three tablespoons mayonnaise, three dash’s Louisiana Hot sauce (I like Frank’s) and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Place in a bowl.

And whisk together. Add more hot sauce and or cayenne to taste.

Spoon into two small ramekins or dipping bowls. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

You’ll find these a certain pleasure. Just for one… or two.

And if you'd like to see a video of how to steam artichokes for two- click on the link below. 

As you can tell- I too am trying to learn some new tricks during this shelter-in-place. For more videos follow me on Instagram @andshecooks2_ 


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