Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Butter

My parents recently planted artichoke plants in the backyard. To my whole family, this is unreasonably exciting. We all went a little crazy at the prospect of fresh artichokes anytime.

Which was puzzling to a lot of our friends.

Which was puzzling to us. Didn’t they understand how great steamed artichokes could be with fresh melted garlic lemon butter?

The answer was no, because an amazing number of folks I talked to never tried an artichoke.

In all fairness, it doesn’t seem exactly intuitive to snip off the green spiny blossoms of an artichoke plant, cook them up, and dredge the leaves and heart in butter.

But in fairness to us, you dredge just about anything in butter, and it’s pretty delicious.

Let me take you through how to cook up and enjoy an artichoke.

It all starts with picking a good one.

You want your artichoke to have tightly closed leaves and a thick stem. The more open the leaves, the more tough and dry it’s likely to be. And the thicker the stem, the more heart there is. That’s the good part.

Start by slicing off the top of the artichoke with a knife, and then, either with a knife or with kitchen scissors, trim the thorny end bit off the leaves. It will save your fingers as you eat.

Also trim the stem down until there’s only about a quarter inch or so left.

Then, it’s time to cook!

Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Lemon Butter

Serves 2.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 large artichokes, prepped as above
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

How to Make Them:

1. In a large pot with a steamer basket, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place the artichokes in the basket and season lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Cover and steam the artichokes until the leaves fall apart easily and the heart is fork tender, about 60-70 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. Mix the melted butter, garlic, and juice of 1/2 the lemon in a small bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

4. Squeeze the rest of the lemon over the artichokes.

5. Serve the artichokes. Set aside a large bowl for discarded leaves.

Oh, and if you aren’t familiar, it’s easy to eat an artichoke. Pull a leaf off and dip it in the garlic butter. Scrape the hearty end part off with your teeth and discard the rest of the leaf. Continue until you’ve taken care of the outer leaves and you’re left with the heart and thin inner leaves.

Scoop out the inner leaves and fuzzy portion of the heart with a spoon, leaving the bowl-shaped heart. Chop into quarters on the plate and drizzle generously with butter. Trust me, the heart is the good part.

Enjoy!

Where are my artichoke fans out there? What’s your favorite way to prepare them?

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