When selecting and eating artichokes, remember the tighter and more compact the petals, the fresher.
Artichokes With Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dipping Sauce Recipe
For the artichokes:
- 4 artichokes
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 1 slice lemon (optional)
For the dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
If desired, trim end of artichoke stem, snip thorny tip off each leaf, and cut about ¾ inch off the tip. Wash artichokes in cold water, making sure to shake out excess water to avoid them getting soggy when steamed. Add a few inches of water in a large pot and add the bay leaf, garlic and celery stalks. Place artichokes in vegetable steaming basket and place in pot. Cover and steam for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on size of artichokes.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk until fully combined.
The artichokes are ready when the outer leaves can easily be removed. Discard bay leaf, garlic and lemon. Serve with the vinaigrette as a dipping sauce.
Makes 2-4 servings.
A Guide to Eating Artichokes
If you've never had artichokes before, they can be a bit mystifying, but trust me, they're simple and delicious to eat. Just peel off a petal from the artichoke and dip the lighter-colored fleshy end in the vinaigrette. Tightly hold the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, inside of the petal against your bottom teeth, and pull through your teeth to remove soft, pulpy “meat” of the petal. Discard remaining petals.
Once you've eaten all the petals, with a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the "choke") that covers the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom portion of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into vinaigrette to eat.