Bright, fresh and delicious, artichokes are extremely versatile and highly nutritious. Here's what you need to know about choosing, storing and preparing artichokes -- plus a few simple and tasty artichoke recipes.
Simple Steamed Artichokes with Olive Oil Dipping Sauce
Makes 4 servings
4 whole artichokes
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse artichokes with water to remove dirt. Trim the bottom of the stem and remove small leaves. Trim pointy and brown leaves from the top.
Meanwhile, place a steamer basket in the bottom of a large pot and fill the pot with about 2 inches of water. Bring water to a boil and place artichokes in pot, stem side down.
Place lid on pot and let steam for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.
Remove artichokes and place on a plate; let cool in refrigerator until chilled.
When ready to eat, combine oil with salt and pepper. Remove leaves and dip in oil.
Prepare and steam artichokes as directed for recipe above.
Brown Canadian bacon slices in skillet. Poach eggs in boiling, salted water. Spread leaves of artichoke open like flower petals. Remove center petals and fuzzy centers from artichokes and discard. Place bacon slices into artichoke centers, covering bottom, and top with poached eggs.
In small saucepan, cook egg yolks, water and lemon juice over very low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles at edges. Stir in butter, 1 piece at a time, until melted and sauce is thickened. Stir paprika, red pepper and salt to taste. Remove from heat.
Wash artichokes under cold running water. Cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Cut off top quarter of artichokes; discard. Spread leaves; remove center leaves and fuzzy centers with a spoon and discard.
Toss breadcrumbs with cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stuff breadcrumb mixture between leaves of artichokes and fill centers.
Place stuffed artichokes in a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 cups boiling water around the artichokes. Cover with lid or foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until artichokes are tender.
Remove artichokes from baking dish and place on rack; cool to room temperature.