Saturday, April 24, 2010

Steamed Artichoke with Balsamic Aioli

I've recently disclosed to you a couple of my kitchen fears - dried beans and dough so far. Here is another one. I've always been terrified of artichokes, unless they came in a can. They're scary looking and very intimidating if you've never seen one cooked or eaten at home.

But the nutritional value of artichokes combined with their delicious and unique flavor should have been enough to convince me this was a fear worth conquering. Artichokes are low in calories, fat free, and high in fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. Interestingly, this website claims artichokes can help cure hangovers, which is sadly appropriate today after all that wine I drank with my friend Jodi last night!

Lindsey's encouragement today gave me the courage to tackle this funky green vegetable. I tackled that motherf*cker like Jared Allen and I was rewarded with a SUBLIME spring dinner with a super flavorful artichoke, tangy and creamy balsamic aioli, a piece of charred bread, grated parmesan cheese, and a glass of white wine. HEAVEN.

Artichokes are incredibly simple to cook. Start by cutting off both ends (the bottom of the stem and the top of the leaves. Then take a scissors and snip the tips off each petal. I also peeled the stem with a paring knife. Rinse.

Add to a pot of boiling seasoned water. Mine had 3 cups water, half a lemon (squeezed), a cup of white wine, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Cover and boil gently for 35-40 minutes. Remove from water and sprinkle with more salt and pepper and some parmesan cheese.

The balsamic aioli is just regular Hellman's mayo mixed with some balsamic vinegar, I made up the fancy name to grab your attention! Another good dipper for artichokes is melted butter with some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

To enjoy this fabulous meal, peel each petal off the stem and dip in your aioli or butter. Use your teeth to scrape the yummy stuff off the tough leaf. Discard the leaf.

Once all the petals are gone, you can see a hairy "choke." Use a spoon to scoop this out and DO NOT EAT IT, it will taste terrible. Cut the rest of the "heart" into pieces and dip them in your aioli and make lots of "mmmmmmmm" noises as you savor each bite.

This is my new favorite spring dinner. I have another artichoke and it's not gonna make it out of this weekend alive.


  1. Yum!! I want this when I get back from China. I miss your food - China is great, but doesn't compare to your cooking!! Miss you and will be back in 3 days.

  2. OMG! I love it when comments come from all over the globe, like when Cass checked the blog from Mexico and Paris! Makes me feel worldly through you guys!! Can't wait to hear about the trip and I'll cook you anything you want when you get back :) Safe travels!!!

  3. Hooray for artichokes! I don't ever bother doing that much prep to mine, even -- just steam 'em whole until you can poke a fork into the base easily. YUM!

    P.S. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog!