Steamed Artichokes with Lemon-Garlic Butter
This classic preparation is the perfect way to eat one of spring's most intriguing treats.
Wash four artichokes under cold, running water. Pull off small or discolored lower petals, and cut stems close to base. Cut off the top quarter of each artichoke.
Fill a large pot with a steamer insert and three inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, and place the artichokes in the steamer (stem end up). Cover and cook until tender (about 40 minutes). Check water periodically, and add more as needed. To test for doneness, carefully pluck a large, outer leaf from the artichoke. If it pulls out easily, the artichoke is done.
(You can also boil artichokes: Place them in simmering saltwater, preferably weighed down with a heat-proof plate to keep them submerged. Cook for the same amount of time—40 minutes.)
Invert the artichokes to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For dipping sauce, try melted garlic butter, lemon vinaigrette or mayonnaise, and mix in some chopped parsley or chives, if you like. Serves four.