The artichoke is one of the most beautiful vegetables that is delicate and delicious, yet is rarely thought of as appetizer before a meal.
My sister Betty just served me an incredible meal last night that was preceded by an artichoke appetizer, and I delighted in the ritual of plucking and dipping the leaves and then devouring the heart.
To prepare the artichokes, cut the ends of the stalks on the diagonal.
In a large pot add two inches of water and bring to a boil. Place a steaming basket at the bottom and add the artichokes. Cover the pot and boil on medium-high heat for 30-40 minutes.
The way to test if the artichoke is ready is to pluck a leaf and if comes off easily then the artichoke is ready to be served.
Aïoli Dipping Sauce
1/2 juiceof a lemon
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 very small garlic clove crushed
Whip the ingredients together until they are well mixed and use as the dipping sauce.
To eat, pluck one leaf at a time and dip into the aïoli and eat the tender end of the leaf. Once you have eaten all the leaves, then cut the remaining small leaves then scoop out the choke, which is the hairy part of the heart. Then dip the artichoke heart and enjoy.
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