Steaming artichokes is one of the easier ways, as well as the most delicious, to eat this unique spring vegetable. Steamed artichokes are also great for entertaining since you can prep and cook them ahead of time and then have your guests gather around to savor in the meaty leaves dipped in some complementary sauces.
To steam the artichokes, first trim them by cutting off any browning on the stem and pulling off the smaller, tougher leaves from around the artichoke. If you have thorny artichokes... and want to be nice to your diners, use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip off the sharp ends of the leaves. Then it is time to steam them, which you can do either on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Although a traditional accompaniment for steamed artichoke is melted butter, dipping the leaves into a savory sauce is even more satisfying. Serve the steamed artichokes warm, at room temperature, or chilled with one of these tasty sauces.
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Aioli is a homemade garlic mayonnaise made with fresh garlic, egg, lemon juice, and olive oil. It is easy to make as long as you add the oil slowly, and is pure perfection on steamed artichoke leaves. It is particularly delicious when served with chilled steamed artichokes.
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This green olive salad dressing also works as a delicious dip for artichokes. Add a tablespoon of capers to the olives, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice for a briny kick that works well with the "chokes."
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Romesco is a Spanish dip of red pepper, tomato, garlic, and almonds. It is tasty on many things, including grilled meats and broiled fish (and even directly off of a spoon!), but it adds a special je ne sais quoi to artichokes.
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In this Middle Eastern-inspired dip, cumin seeds are toasted, crushed, and mixed with yogurt and cayenne pepper to create a creamy artichoke-friendly dip. You can add a little sour cream to balance out the tanginess of the yogurt. Perfect with either warm or room temp artichokes.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The combination of herbs and butter marry perfectly with the earthy flavor of artichoke leaves. In this sauce, flour, milk, and sour cream help create a creamy consistency, ideal for dipping. Tarragon is the star in this recipe, bringing another taste of Spring to this dish.
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This list isn't complete without the traditional melted butter for dipping. You can turn plain melted butter into "drawn" butter by having the melted butter sit for a few minutes. The butter solids will have time to settle to the bottom, allowing you to pour off the clear drawn butter on top to use (you can discard the solids). Note that while some people prefer the "cleaner" taste of drawn butter, you will lose the salty bite of the milk solids.
You can step up plain melted butter a bit by adding minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley or mint, or a bit of chili to the butter after melting.