20 March 2011

How I Eat An Artichoke (Or Two, Or Three, Or Four)

*Please note: This has the potential to be a very time consuming process, especially if you are going to share with your children. Even if you do not, you may find yourself running to the store for more artichokes once you've finished your first batch. You have been warned.

Ahh, the baby artichoke. Such tender, tastiness waiting to be unearthed from its leafy shell. Mmmmmmm.

OK, on to the actual recipe. For me, baby artichokes are a bit more work than full sized ones because I like to trim them and skin the stems rather than just chopping them off in the larger variety. Of course, you don't have to do it this way, but I like to eat the whole stem with the heart (of the baby artichoke) and if I don't cut off the outer layer it just isn't tasty.

First, I break off the outer leaves until I see a light yellow and a white color around the base of the leaves. Then, I take my paring knife and skin the stem, chopping off the very end, until it is that nice shade of light green. Then I throw them all in a steaming basket above a large pot of water and boil them until the leaves come off easily. For these, it took about 40 minutes. I also added a few cloves of garlic to the water (which I will discuss later) but you could also add lemon slices to infuse a bit of flavor into the artichokes.

Steam away!

When they were finished, I took a few out and started breaking them apart to give to my hungry children. They were probably a tad overdone as you can see how dark they became, but nevertheless a fantastic treat.

Most of the time, the outer leaves are fairly inedible, providing very little 'meat' that would normally be scraped off with one's teeth. I had to peel off quite a few of them to get to the nice yellow leaves that are tender enough for Piper to eat. Heidi actually eats the whole leaf, no matter what kind you put in front of her.

Once I get to this point, I rip each leaf in half (or wherever it offers the most give/tenderness to break) to make the plate for Piper. For Heidi, I leave the leaf intact as I would for myself.

As you can see, the right side of the plate has the bottom, tender part of the leaf for Piper to eat (or what you would eat) and the top part is discarded.

Now, you may be wondering if we just eat these fabulous vegetables plain or if I make some sort of mind altering sauce to dip them in. It's the latter. And here is how I do it.

Note that the bowl seen here has already been used for this sauce and is not simply a dirty dish.

First, I fill the bottom part of the bowl with fresh lemon juice. Ultimately, the sauce is all up 'to taste' so you can always add more throughout the process or less the next time you do it. Then I add some sprinkles of Bragg's Amino Acids, generally enough to change the color of the lemon. (To see my post on Bragg's, click here.)

In the above photo, I added a clove of the boiled garlic to the lemon and Bragg's.

After I added the luscious clove of garlic to the lemon and Bragg's, I added about a tablespoon of butter. 

Then I pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds if the butter is ice cold, maybe 25 seconds if it is room temperature, depending on your microwave. Then you'll want to check it to see if all the butter has melted or if it needs a bit more time. 

As you can see, the butter is not completely melted, but with a quick stir, it almost dissolves. However, I like to have the sauce reach a slight boil, so I would put it back on (in the microwave) for another 8 - 10 seconds. Also at this point I crushed the garlic with my stirring fork and incorporated it into the sauce before microwaving the additional time....someone stop me!

At last! The sauce is complete! Be careful, it will be hot, but it will provide the most delicious dipping sauce for your artichokes you have ever tasted! Generally speaking, I like to use this sauce on any vegetable I eat, though I do not always use the butter (and of course I don't always have garlic).

Heidi enjoyed dipping her entire leaf into the sauce and sucking it all off before gobbling the whole thing.

Try it, love it, use it on everything for the rest of your life! :)


  1. sounds delicious! Where do you get the Bragg's?

  2. I get the huge bottle at Wegmans, but most stores with a health food section should have at least the smaller bottle, which I'm sure you'd want to try out before taking the plunge for the industrial size :)

  3. I am putting this on my list to make.

    It had better be good.


  4. Oh Amanda - that was freaking incredible! This is going to make my husband like artichokes - and I don't want to share with him.

    I still cannot believe how good that was...

  5. I have a terrible time sharing as well...it means I really love my children because sometimes I will make it JUST for them and sit there and pick the meat off each leaf and dip it in the sauce...though Heidi has learned how to scrape the leaves on her own now! (She likes to dip a lot...) :)

  6. This is awesome!!! I just added an "artichoke eating video" of my girl for tomorrow's carnival post.
    ah, great minds love artichokes. Clearly.