30 January 2010

Baby Artichokes

Artichokes come into season every early spring and autumn. They look so elegant with their sharp little claws and round little bodies like green dreidels. I just want to spin those suckers into my gullet. But I found that if I buy the adult artichokes, we never cook them. Adult artichokes are a PAIN IN THE *SS to prepare. Hence the ubiquity of canned artichokes.

Luckily, if you nab 'em while they're still young, they can't put up a fight. I mean you can eat the choke because it's not thorny yet—no surgical operations required. Just wash 'em, peel off a layer or two of the harder outer leaves, cut off a third of the top and a bit of the bottom (above the stem: the stem's useless), and drop the rest into a bowl of water spiked with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Then boil those babies about 20 minutes, uncovered, in salted water and serve them drained and hot with a dipping sauce of mayo, lemon juice, olive oil, or a combo of any of those.

Unlike a side of tomatoes or carrots or zucchini, a side of artichokes codes you as Gourmet Cook Extraordinare and your guests will feel special and lucky to be at your table, even if you burn everything else.

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