Every time I eat an artichoke, I can’t help but wonder how on Earth someone saw this weird looking food and decided it was edible. “Hey, check out this flower. Do you think we can eat it? What about if we cut the sharp, prickly tips of the leaves off, cook the whole thing, and then only eat the bottom half of each leaf. Then dig underneath that weird fuzzy part so we can eat the core.” … Doesn’t sound too appetizing. But the artichoke is one of the world’s oldest foods, dating back to the Greeks in early B.C. years. It has out-lived glace fish and clear Pepsi, so I suppose those Greeks knew they discovered something interesting. And, boy, they sure are delicious.
The prep time for artichokes is the most challenging aspect of this recipe, but they are well worth the work. And don’t forget the dipping sauces to go along with them! They’re argued by some to be the real reason to eat artichokes. Our household favorites are lemon aioli and a mix of Greek yogurt, honey, and Turkish hot sauce.
(Note: Because I wanted this recipe to be all-inclusive and authentic aioli is made with raw eggs, the aioli recipe below uses store-bought mayonnaise and is not made from scratch. But check out my aioli recipe here for the real deal!)
Yields 2 servings
- 2 artichokes, sharp tips cut off
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 2 lemons
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 3 tbsp. salt
Start by preparing the artichokes. Cut the tips of the leaves off with kitchen scissors. Using a sharp knife, slice the top inch or so of the artichoke off. Next, rinse the whole thing under running water, spreading the leaves to thoroughly clean each artichoke. For an easier serving and eating experience, I alway cut my artichokes in half and scoop out the choke (the fuzzy part right above the heart). You are welcome to skip this step — just alter your cook time, since the halved artichokes will take less time then a whole artichoke. If you do decide to cut the artichoke in half, place the halves in a bowl of water with the juice from 1 lemon. This will prevent the artichoke from turning brown. After the artichokes are cleaned, place them in a large stock pot along with the lemon-water they were soaking in. If the water doesn’t cover the artichoke completely, add more.
They must be completely submerged in order to cook evenly. Add the remaining ingredients to the stock pot, turn to medium-high, cover, and boil for 30-45 minutes (or until an inner leaf pulls free with ease). Once cooked completely, drain the water and serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce…like our Lemon Aioli. You can also throw these cooked artichokes on the grill for a minute or two for extra flavor!
Roasted Garlic and Lemon Aioli
Yields 1 cup
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- juice and zest from 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- pinch of salt and pepper
- minced parsley (optional)
Wrap the garlic cloves in an aluminum foil pouch with a couple drops of oil (olive, avocado, or vegetable) and roast in 350°F oven for 15 minutes. Unwrap and cool garlic completely before mixing with the remaining ingredients.