Friday, April 29, 2011

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette and Creamy Aioli Dip

Artichokes are loaded with antioxidants, in other words, they are super good for you! Artichoke hearts are often added to cooked dishes or salads but the leaves are also edible. Here, I steam medium-sized whole artichokes and serve them drizzled with lemon-garlic vinaigrette and a side of creamy aioli dip. Simple and delicious!

For 4 to 6 medium Globe artichokes

If you have never prepared and enjoyed whole artichokes and feel intimidated, you can find a great tutorial on Simply Recipes.

Cut off stem and top. Trim tip of the “petals” with scissors to remove thorns. Rinse under running water. Steam (stem up) for 20-30 minutes, until base of stem is tender. I use an instant steamer but you can simply use a pan fitted with a steamer insert. Remove artichokes and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice = 60 ml de jus de citron
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves = 2 cuillères à café de basilic ciselé
  • 3 cloves garlic = 3 gousses d'ail
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest = 1 cuillère à café de zeste de citron (prélevé à la râpe)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt = ¼ cuillère à café de sel
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper = ¼ cuillère à café de poivre
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard = 1 cuillère à café de moutarde forte
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil = 60 ml d'huile d'olive
Blend the lemon juice, basil, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a blender. Add mustard and pulse a couple of times. With the machine running, gradually pour in the oil. If you wish, season the vinaigrette with more salt and pepper. Reserve.

Creamy Aioli Dip
  • ½ cup light sour cream = 100 g de crème fraiche allégée
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise = 50 g de mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced = 3 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice = 2 cuillères à café de jus de citron
  • salt & pepper to taste = sel & poivre
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Let stand for one hour to allow flavors to develop and blend together.

When ready to serve, drizzle some vinaigrette on top of each artichoke and serve with dip on the side. Enjoy one petal at a time, pulling the base of the petal through slightly clenched teeth to strip off the “fleshy” base. Discard fibrous upper part of the leaves. The thinner inner leaves are so tender, they can be eaten completely. When you get to the round area of the base (known as the “heart”), scrape out the fuzzy top layer first. Enjoy!

Note: you will most likely have leftover vinaigrette, refrigerate and use later on sliced tomatoes and fresh mozarella, or mixed greens.

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