I always think of artichokes as a gourmet vegetable, but they can be found in any grocery store these days.
They are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world and are thought to originate in Ethiopia.
I know them as an Italian vegetable, as Italians love artichokes and eat them in a variety of ways. Italy is also the world’s largest producer of artichokes.
The vegetable pictured above is known as a globe artichoke. There is also something known as a Jerusalem artichoke, which is something altogether different in look, taste and cooking method.
Artichokes have many health benefits. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of Vitamin C. They also contain chromium, which is very helpful for diabetics, and magnesium, among other minerals and vitamins.
This recipe includes a fantastically rich and flavorful dipping sauce for the leaves (or petals as they are sometimes often called). It is a mix of butter and lemon juice, with a bit of parsley added for extra flavor (and nutrition).
It is a simple sauce, made in just a few minutes with a few simple ingredients, but absolutely fabulous.
I would recommend that you do not substitute margarine for butter in this recipe. The sauce is a simple one and I think needs the butter for it’s terrific flavor.
Artichokes With Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce
- 8 artichokes, cleaned and the choke removed
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- To clean the artichoke, many people suggest taking kitchen scissors and cutting off the tip of the leaves before cooking. The leaves often have a few small thorns on them. You can do this or not. It is optional because the thorns go soft when you cook the artichoke and cause no harm.
- The "choke" though does have to be removed. The choke is the inedible part of the artichoke that is at the base of the vegetable, near the root. This MUST be removed before the vegetable is eaten. If you look at the image above you will see a scooped out part in the center of the vegetable where the choke was removed.
- Cut the artichoke in half and remove the fuzzy choke from each half. Rinse the artichokes to clean them.
- Steam them in a steamer basket or pot for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the leaves come off easily.
- To eat, pull of the petals or leaves and dip them into the butter sauce. Suck the middle of the artichoke leaves out. Do not eat the leaf itself. Simply discard them.
- This artichoke recipe calls for the vegetables to be cut in half before cooking. You can also leave them whole and steam them for 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size. Cook until they are tender and the leaves come off the body easily. The choke can be removed after they are cooked and cut open.
This is a fabulous recipe for many restricted diets – if you need low carb recipes, diabetic recipes or gluten free recipes, it’s perfect.