Artichokes have to be the most intimidating, least intuitive veggie for a first-time attempt. They take a little work to eat, but that’s somehow part of their weird charm – you have to earn the sweet, tender heart at the center. These prickly little guys are actually super-good for you, low in calories and high in fiber, so you can definitely pair them with rich, creamy garlic butter!
Pick a large artichoke with tightly closed leaves. Young, tender artichokes have closed bulbs; older artichokes with open leaves are woodier and tougher. Brown spots are just signs of frost and nothing to worry about.
I was lucky enough to learn how to cook and eat artichokes when I was little. It was a special treat for my mom and I, since my dad wasn’t a fan. We dipped the leaves in salted butter and that was more than enough to keep me happy. (My love affair with pure butter has been going on for a good, long time.) I was weirded out when I heard of dipping artichokes in mayo, but it got me thinking about maybe making that butter a little bulkier, thicker, creamier.
Most of my kitchen genius ideas come from just mixing a little of this and a little of that, and this easy creamy garlic butter is definitely worth making! Butter-rich with punches of lemon and garlic, this dip is incredibly rich and heavy – just a little bit is enough for each leaf.
After your artichokes are cooked, there’s an obvious question… how do you eat this thing?
Peel off a leaf – the outer leaves might be a little tough, but the inner leaves are melting-soft – and dip in sauce. Bite the leaf about two-thirds of the way up and pull the leaf through your teeth, scraping off all that good, soft interior.
When all the leaves are gone, you’ll find small purple petals covering the fuzzy choke. Peel or scrape the choke off to get to the tender heart, the very best part.
- 2 artichokes
- 2 T. lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 2 T. butter, melted
- 2 T. olive oil mayonnaise
- 1 t. lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ t. salt
- Cut an inch off the bottom of the stem and half an inch off the top leaves.
- Peel off any leaves on the stem and the outermost ring of small leaves.
- Use kitchen scissors to cut the top ¼" off each leaf.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of the stem.
- Fill a large steamer pot with water just below the bottom of the steamer.
- Add lemon juice and salt and bring water to a boil.
- Place artichokes in the steamer insert stem-up, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 35-45 minutes, topping off the water level if needed. Test to see if the artichokes are done by pulling on one of the middle leaves with tongs; when the leaf comes out easily, the artichoke is done.
- Serve immediately with creamy garlic butter.
- Whisk together all ingredients until the butter and mayo emulsify into a smooth dip.