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It’s SPRINGTIME. All kinds of bright, green veggies are in season this month, including artichokes. Their armadillo-like exteriors can deter home cooks from steaming them whole, which pains us, because those meaty leaves make a brilliant snack.
Trimming artichokes is akin to removing the thorns from roses: it may take a bit of battling, but once you’ve made it through, the rest is a cinch. So with a pair of scissors, snip about 1/2 inch off the tip of each pointy leaf. Then cut the stem so just about an inch of it remains, removing any small outer leaves along with it.
That’s it! The hard part is over! Now all you do is plop that ‘choke (or four) into a steamer basket set atop a large pot of boiling water. Cover it and cook for about 30 minutes, or until you can easily pull off an outer leaf. (It should still be green at this time; be careful it doesn’t go grey.)
While that’s happening, melt some butter and cut a lemon into wedges. (Just halve the lemon lengthwise and then halve it again to get four big, fat, squeezable chunks.) Or make some aioli, if you’d rather dip your artichoke into something creamy. When we’re pressed for time (or when we’ve got the Monday post-work minuscule-energy syndrome), we start with store-bought mayonnaise. That’s your base. Whisk in some olive oil to simultaneously thin it and make it more velvety. Then whisk in a garlic clove that you’ve mashed with some salt and the back of a knife. Finish by whisking in some pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Then add some white wine. (Like in a glass, for the drinking.) Nibble on your artichoke by biting on each leaf, one by one, after drenching it in butter or aioli. (You’re basically scraping the meat from the inside of each leaf with your teeth; you don’t want to eat the leaves themselves.)
That’s as decadent as any sugary confection, if you ask us.