Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Artichokes done easy

Springtime means that artichokes are back in season. From just a quick glance, these prickly suckers can seem daunting to work with and prepare. Too many leaves to deal with and then you've got the whole issues of the choke itself...take a bite out of it and you definitely won't be too happy (note the word 'choke' here).

I'll admit, I was a little weary the first time I tackled artichokes. But it couldn't have been more easy...and delicious to boot. Not to mention that artichokes are loaded with antioxidants, folate, magnesium and vitamin C. Artichokes are known to help cleanse or “detox” the liver (point of interest for those of you who like a drink or two) and they pack in ¼ of our daily recommendation for fiber, 6 grams a piece. A single artichoke bears a mere 25 calories, which leaves you some room for a little garlic butter to dip the leaves in, yum.

Steamed Artichokes with Garlic and Lemon

3-4 whole, fresh artichokes – cut off 1 to 2 inches at the top and trim the sharp tips of outer leaves. Cut off the base and remove small outer leaves if desired.
3 cloves garlic, 2 whole, 1 minced and pressed with knife into a paste
2-3 Tbsp butter melted (about ½ a stick)
1 ½ lemons, halved

  1. Fill a large pot or a steamer with an inch of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Toss in 1 cut lemon, halved and 2 whole garlic cloves. Arrange artichokes in pot, tips facing up.
  3. Cover and steam at medium-high heat for 25-35 minutes until bases are soft and leaves can be pulled off easily.

*Remember to keep an eye for the furry, bristly choke when you get to it after eating the outer leaves. Scoop out the choke and discard and you’ve hit the heart of the artichoke, the best part.

Garlic Butter Dipping Sauce

Melt butter in microwave or on the stove in a small pot. Add in minced garlic or garlic paste and juice from ½ lemons. Pour butter into a small serving bowl or individual mini-ramekins.

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