I have to thank my friend Aileen for this one.
We have dinner with “Leena” and Jason quite often. And a few weeks ago, not only did they bring perfectly marinaded steaks (which we jokingly confessed was the only reason we were their friends), but they also introduced us to these bad boys:
I have to admit, I'd eaten mushy, citric-acid tasting artichoke hearts on pizza and such prior to this night – but never, NEVER had I eaten a perfectly steamed artichoke.
Oh my, my, my.
It was divine.
So I have to give a shout out to Leena and Jason for not only filling our bellies with red meat, but also for opening the door to my new summer obsession.
Step One: Place the artichokes in a pan. You may have to cut the stems off a bit to get them to sit up straight. I've found that my cast iron skillet works well for this, but a cast iron pan would also work. Actually, pretty much whatever kind of pan you have (as long as it can be covered with foil or a lid).
Step Two: Fill the pan with about 2 cups of warm water. Then, pour your lemon juice into the water. Heck, through the lemon in there too. Ain't gunna hurt.
Step Three: Cover the pan with a lid, or with foil to seal in the steam.
Step Four: Bring the water to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to low and allow the artichoke to steam until tender (usually, about 30 minutes). Note: There are a lot of different methods for steaming. This can also be done in the oven, or in a vegetable steamer. The point is simply to steam the artichoke, so feel free to go about that however you wish!
Step Five: While the artichoke is steaming, place your minced garlic, butter, and a few pinches of salt in a small saucepan on the stove. Keep this on low, so it gets all melty and bubbly, while the artichoke finishes steaming.
But the fun has just begun. The eating of the artichoke is what I find most enjoyable about it. You have to get your fingers dirty – plus, it can take awhile! It causes you to sit still. Savor your meal. Engage in lengthened conversations.
To eat, you carefully peel each petal off (one at a time!). Then, you dip the meaty end into your garlic butter, put it in your mouth like a spoon, and use your teeth to scrap off the meaty chunk at the bottom of the petal.
Then, you proceed to do this with the remaining 642 petals.
Mmm. You can see why this takes awhile! But it is so much fun to touch your food! I love eating with my fingers!
Once you get to the inside, you will find this:
Doesn't it look scary?
Using the side of your thumb, scrap the “hairy” inside off. What you are left with is the artichoke heart.
Proceed to each this as well. Trust me. You'll want to.
At the end of this artichoke extravaganza, you will be left with a pile of meatless petals the size of Mt. Everest. And that's how you know it's been a good meal, my friends.
Might I encourage you to take part in this artichoke eating obsession with me?
I don't want to be the only one with buttery fingers.
Thank you for your cooperation.
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.