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Artichokes with Dipping Sauce

My simple step-by-step hints make it a breeze to cook artichokes along with a delicious sauce for dipping.

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Past Contributor
My simple step-by-step hints make it a breeze to cook artichokes along with a delicious sauce for dipping. 

Every summer, my husband, our two children and I spend two weeks at my mother-in-law’s home in Croatia. That gorgeous country is a treat for the eyes. It doesn’t go unnoticed by this food lover that some of my favorite foods (like figs, peaches, rosemary, capers, olives and artichokes) grow wild there. 

One of my most memorable photographs is one my husband took of an artichoke we saw while strolling through one of Croatia’s charming villages. That was the first time I ever saw an artichoke flower in person…I couldn’t believe my eyes!

PHOTO0Artichoke
Although beautiful, that photo makes me think about how intimidating cooking artichokes can be to a lot of people. So I would like to show you how to cook and eat a whole artichoke, step-by-step. 

The first thing you need to do is to trim the large stem at the base of the artichoke.

PHOTO1Artichoke
Now trim the tip of each leaf with a scissors. PHOTO2Artichoke
Finally, trim about 1-1/2 inches from the top of the artichoke. PHOTO3Artichoke
Here is how it looks before and after all the trimming. PHOTO4Artichoke
Rinse the artichokes thoroughly with cold running water. Place in a large pot of salted boiling water; add lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat until the artichokes are tender at the base, about 45 minutes. PHOTO5Artichoke
While the artichokes are cooking, make the dipping sauce by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, agave nectar, shallots, thyme, salt and pepper until emulsified. Pour into a bowl; chill until serving. This sauce is a perfect complement to the delicate flavor of artichokes. PHOTO11Artichoke
When the artichokes are done cooking, place them upside down on a cooling rack so that excess water can run out. Let them cool a little. PHOTO6Artichoke
Gently pull open the top of each artichoke until you see pale yellow leaves. PHOTO7Artichoke
Pull the yellow leaves out to reveal the hairy choke. PHOTO8Artichoke
Use a spoon to scoop out the choke. PHOTO9Artichoke
Use your hands to gently close the artichoke. PHOTO10Artichoke
Starting at the base, pull off a leaf, dip it in the sauce and bite off the soft part found at the base. PHOTO12Artichoke
Once all the leaves are gone, you will find the artichoke heart, nice, clean and ready to eat! Eat the heart with a fork and knife, dipping it in the sauce. 

These may seem like a lot of steps to follow, but trust me. It is actually really easy and quick after you do it the first time. To me, this is the perfect appetizer for a date night.

PHOTO13Artichoke

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