It was love at first sight.
Actually, that’s a total lie. I was a little freaked out the first time I ever encountered a steamed artichoke. They look funny, you eat them kind of funny and if I’m being totally honest here, they smell kind of funny. BUT, and there’s a huge but here, you dip the leaves in melted butter. Or in this case a sauce made with mostly mayonnaise. So yeah, I might have been intimidated at first but when you introduce the butter and mayo, I’m all in. I’ll dip anything in butter or mayonnaise. Anything.
It all started when I was a teenage. My mom and I used to do an annual trip to Half Moon Bay, CA to visit my uncle when he lived there. What an amazing time those trips were. We’d shop our booties off in San Francisco and then my uncle, the gourmand, would cook us some amazing dinners. It was the life. Half Moon bay is home to amazing surf and the famous pumpkin festival but did you know they grow a lot of artichokes. Like a lot. Who knew?
It only took one bite to get me hooked on this antioxidant-rich vegetable and for every visit there after, we would feast on some locally grown artichokes. My uncle would prepare and steam the artichokes, my mom would make her now infamous dipping sauce, and I would sit and watch. Oh how I miss those days of someone else making me dinner.
Since my uncle no longer lives in Half Moon Bay and since I’m a grown adult, I’ve been forced to buy and steam my own artichokes. Not a problem once you get the hang of it. Actually, they are pretty simple. Over the years, I’ve tried a handful of different dips to go with. Some better than others but nothing beats my moms sauce. Why? I suppose it’s part nostalgia but if I’m being honest here, it’s all about the mayonnaise. I’m mean really, how could one go wrong? So simple but kind of the bomb. Four ingredients and 30 seconds to make: mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish and salad supreme seasoning.
While nothing beats a warm steamed artichoke, an under cooked one can ruin the whole experience. So be careful and make sure you steam them long enough. Times will vary depending on the size of the artichokes. And make sure that when you get to the end, you savor the artichoke heart. That’s where the real love is.
As I was writing this post I realized that once you’ve finished all the leaves I didn’t show you how to get to the goods- the heart. I guess I just got overly excited about the steamed artichokes. Thankfully Elise from Simply Recipes is here to save the day. Scroll down to the bottom of her how to eat an artichoke post and she’ll show you how to get to the promise land.
Just remember to dip it in mayonnaise. Or butter.
Steamed Artichokes with Horseradish Dipping Sauce
For the Artichokes:
To prepare the artichokes for steaming, start by cutting the stem down to just about 1/2 an inch. Next, pull off any tough leaves towards the base and on the stem. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, trim all the little sharp thorns off the ends of each leaf; Slice about an inch off the tip of the artichoke. In a large pot, fill with about 3-4 inches of water. Insert steaming basket and add artichokes stem side up. Cover pan with lid and bring water to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook artichokes about 45 minutes. This time is variable as it depends on how big your artichokes are. Mine were honkers. Check after 30 minutes. You should be able to pull a leaf of easily.. Remove artichokes from steamer basket and serve warm with melted butter or any sauce you like.
For the Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salad supreme seasoning
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with steamed artichokes.