Steamed whole artichokes served with a honey mustard sauce served in a simple fashion. Beautiful artichokes steamed and served as a fun interactive appetizer or side dish. Perfect for a romantic date night enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. This would be a great appetizer for small gatherings, and Easter occasions.
It’s odd that so many people like us for so long found artichokes to be an intimidating thing to cook. We thought that there was more effort required and an outrageous cooking time which is why we never attempted them. Boy were we wrong! So many regrets not trying this sooner. Now that we’ve had them and know how easy it is to make, that stuff you get in jars doesn’t even compare. And it seems so wasteful.. all hearts when there all that meat from the leaves.
We love this for date nights, special occasions like valentines day or anniversaries. It’s something that’s intimate and shared which makes it perfect for that special someone. Cozy up close to each other and dig in.
We love going just a bit outside of our comfort zone on such occasions using it as opportunities to try new things and we think you should too! They don’t have to be reserved for just special occasions. They would be great as an appetizer for a small gathering as they are in a sense eaten like a finger food and discarded in the same way you would something with a toothpick or skewer and even a shrimp cocktail. Simply serve them with a little bowl on the side and put a few already eaten leaves in the bowl to get things started. Guaranteed to be a hit!
Shopping for the perfect artichokes
Come spring time, grocery stores will be flooded with artichokes. The best time for artichokes is in the Spring or Fall when they are in season. You’ll want to make sure its firm, feels heavy, is bright in color with little to no browning. Fresh artichokes make a nice crisp snap sound when removing leaves. Avoid overly brown ones and ones with split leaves which indicates that they are quite old.
perfectly cooked artichokes
Like most vegetables, it starts by cleaning them and preparation. The initial step is to remove any small leaves at the very bottom just before the stem. Pull them off with your hands and discard. These leaves don’t have any meat inside and aren’t edible. Next you’ll want to peel away any imperfections on the stem making sure it’s vibrant green and smooth. Cut off just the end piece of the stem where its brown and discard. The stem is edible therefore it is not necessary to completely remove. The next part is to slice the top ½-1 inch off the tops of each artichoke with a sharp kitchen knife. You don’t want to cut off any more as to avoid losing valuable leaves and want to be mindful of waste. Next you want to keep any artichokes your not currently handling in a water bath with lemon to prevent oxidizing and keep them as green as possible. Using kitchen scissors, work around the outside of the artichoke trimming the tips of the leaves. As seen in the next photo.
Once you’ve prepared all the artichokes they are ready to be steamed. Bring a heavy bottom pot of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add some lemon slices, garlic cloves and the artichokes. Make sure that they are fully submerged in water and reduce to a simmer. Cover and steam for 25-35 minutes depending on the size. Ours only took 25 minutes and they were medium sized. You can check this by inserting a knife in the stem or simply checking to see if it is soft. This is an indication that they are ready. We recommend squeezing out as much water as you can when removing from the pot to avoid having water when removing the leaves to eat and any wetness.
How to eat an artichoke
If you’re new to this process it’s quite easy and a fun way to eat. Similar to edamame beans where you squeeze the beans out with your teeth you want to dip the leaf in your sauce and with your teeth squeeze out the meat inside the leaf. You don’t get much from one leaf but its all in the fun of how its eaten. When you get to the center, you’ll notice that the leaves start to not have any meat, at this point you can pull the remaining leaves off and discard. What your left with is the heart and a fuzzy choke which is the outer layer. Here you’ll want to spoon out the heart or use a knife to cut it out and discard the rest.
We hope you enjoyed this recipe1 be sure to tag us @thecommunalfeast we’d love to hear from you!
1. To prepare the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with cold water and throw in half of the thinly sliced lemon, Set aside. Cut off the bottoms of the stems and discard. About ½ inch. Use a vegetable peeler to peel away a thin layer of the stems removing any ugly parts and uneven parts. Snip off any small leafs near the stem that are detaching and discard. Cut off the very top of each artichoke with a sharp knife, about ½ inch. As shown in pictures above. Place the artichokes in the cold water bath with lemon. With your kitchen scissors trim the tips of each leaf around the artichokes. Keep the others in the water while you prepare each artichoke and return to water when finished. You can open up and loosen the artichokes under the water a little where its cut to help with the cooking.
2. In a large pot filled with water, add salt and lemon and bring to a boil, when boiling add artichokes and garlic, ensuring the artichokes are fully submerged and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes until tender.
3. To prepare the sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small jar and shake well to combine.
4. When the artichokes are ready, with a pair of tongs, grab the artichokes one at a time from the widest part and turning upside-down squeezing slightly to get as much water out as possible. Set aside.
5. To serve: the artichokes can be served whole or cut in half. Pictured above they are cut in half and drizzle with a squeeze of lemon and seasoned with some pepper and a bit of the sauce. Serve with the honey mustard sauce on the side and enjoy.