Sunday, January 29, 2006

Fresh Artichokes and Recipe for Mom's Dipping Sauce for Artichokes

I grew up in a family where most of us considered fresh artichokes to be a delicacy, thanks to a wonderful mom who cooked them, even though we had a family of ten kids to feed. It wasn't until I was well on the way to adulthood that I realized that some people didn't eat artichokes, and had no idea how to cook them. The artichoke is interesting in that when you eat them fresh, you have more left than you started with, or so it seems! Only the stem, heart (base where the leaves grow), and the very inner tips of the leaves are edible, but those parts are delicious. Online I was able to find an abundance of artichoke information, including the fact that Marilyn Monroe was once crowned artichoke queen. In the U.S. lots of artichokes come from California. A good source of vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber and minerals, artichokes are quite nutritious. Of course all vegetables are best fresh, but canned artichokes can be very good in things like breakfast casserole or frittata. Today artichokes are still one of my very favorite foods, and very low in carbs too!

I always choose artichokes with the longest stem I can find, since the stems are tasty. I cut off the stem and cut the artichoke in half. The very center contains fuzz and inedible parts called the "choke".

Here the choke has been trimmed away carefully with a sharp knife. This is the only part of the cooking process that is at all difficult.

When artichokes are trimmed, put in large pot with a heavy lid (single layer is best, but not totally necessary). Put a few inches of water in the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil. Then cover artichokes and steam for 45 minutes, or until the stem piece can be pierced quite easily with a fork. Let artichokes cool slightly while you make Mom's dipping sauce.

Mom's Dipping Sauce for Artichokes
(Makes enough for 2-3 artichokes, recipe from mom, remembered from when she showed me how to make it)

1/2 cup mayo (do not use light or fat free)
1/2 cup sour cream or light sour cream (do not use fat free)
1 1/2 - 2 T fresh lemon juice (or more, these days I'd use a bit more)

Whisk together mayo and sour cream, then whisk in lemon juice and serve with artichokes.

You need more sauce than you might imagine because there are a lot of little pieces of the artichoke to dip. Artichokes are also good cold with this sauce. Hot artichokes are also delicious served with melted butter if you're not on a diet!

South Beach Suggestions:
Artichokes are a great low-glycemic food, and even though mayo is a "limited" food on South Beach, when you eat this you aren't eating the dipping sauce by the spoonful, so I would eat this for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

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  1. I've only ever had artichokes on pizza and loved the taste of it. Never tried cooking it though because i never know what or how. Thanks for the post.

    I hope you get to find 'holy basil' in Utah...

  2. I love artichokes! In any form! I have 10 waiting in the fridge right now...

  3. I am with Ilva on this. I love (almost)anything to do with artichokes. Wonderful shots--I want to reach over and pull off the leaves.

  4. Actually I like artichokes but only if they are fresh. I really hate the pickled or bottled artichokes. I wish I could buy them here but there just cost too much - $3 or more per artichoke! It's ridiculous. Sigh.

  5. Hi fellow artichoke lovers. Thanks for visiting. Stephanie (aka MM,), they are quite expensive here too. Normal price is at least $2.50 U.S. for the big ones, but once in a while they go on sale. That's when I buy them, when they are cheaper.

  6. I would like to learn how to trim the artichokes. I bought them once/twice for a recipe but I'm afraid, I butchered them. ;-) I'm learning to appreciate them, though.


  7. I do love artichokes and mostly use the hearts (because I'm lazy and one can buy them ready to roast or already marinated). I haven't had them like this in years, though. Guess it's time to do it. I love dipping them in vinaegrette and I might have to make both dips just to do a taste test.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. I do love artichokes and mostly use the hearts (because I'm lazy and one can buy them ready to roast or already marinated). I haven't had them like this in years, though. Guess it's time to do it. I love dipping them in vinaegrette and I might have to make both dips just to do a taste test.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. I adore artichokes, and I too ate them as a kid (thanks mom!). But I never bother to cut in half and trim away the choke. I just cut the stem off (sometimes peeling it if it looks woody) then steaming or boiling the same way.

    Eat the leaves by scraping off with your teeth, and then when you get to the bottom part, use a spoon or a knife to scrape away the fuzzy choke part and then eat the heart.

    I love the sound of that dipping sauce, homemade mayo with extra lemon is awfully good too.

  10. Kalyn,

    I too have been eating artichokes since I was young. The fast way she taught me how to make them was to cook them in a pressure cooker. We would literally just buy 2 artichokes, add some water to the bottom of the cooker and put them in elevated above the water. Seal it up and cook them for about 10-15 minutes after it hits full steam.

    They come out whole and sit nicely on the plate. We would always use butter to dip and they would disappear in minutes.

  11. The dipping sauce I like so far (at least for this season!) is mayo, a bit of pesto, and enough lemon juice to thin it out.

    Love it!

  12. Mel, I love that idea. I'm going to try cooking artichokes in the pressure cooker and will try your sauce.

  13. I also grew up LOVING artichokes and eat them constantly with my "mom's artichoke dipping sauce" - i've never tasted a better sauce, although i have to use moderation!!

    for one large choke:
    1/2 stick butter, melted
    1/2 TBSP lemon juice
    1/2 tsp ground superfine mustard
    1/4 tsp salt
    black pepper to taste.


  14. Well how could that sauce not taste great on artichokes, absolutely!

  15. Kaylyn's Mom's dipping sauce for artichokes is the best I've ever made--or even tasted! As an alternate, I tried adding a pinch of dill or tarragon--but it is also perfect "as is".

  16. So glad you liked the dipping sauce. That's how my mom always made it, and everyone in my family gobbled it up!

  17. I have always steamed artichokes just like this. However, last week I roasted them instead - I trimmed them (didnt cut in half), stuck some garlic inside, drizzled with EVOO and lemon juice and salt, and wrapped up in a double layer of foil and put in the oven at 425 - 450 for an hour and a half. They were awesome! I'll never steam another artichoke again. Told my mom, she made them that way last night and said the same.

  18. Liz, sounds like I had better try roasted artichokes myself!

  19. a great dipping sauce for artichokes is a blend of mayo and soya sauce - sounds strange but has a delish taste ... not at all like mayo and soya, strangely enough!

  20. Susie, I will definitely try it! Thanks for sharing.


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