Steamed Artichokes With Garlic Butter or Lemon Mayo

April 14, 2021 Updated: April 14, 2021

Steamed artichokes are perhaps the easiest and simplest way to prepare this vegetable. I love serving them as a first course at informal gatherings, as they are a great ice breaker: They must be eaten with your fingers!

Epoch Times Photo
Steaming is perhaps the easiest, simplest way to prepare artichokes. (Victoria de la Maza)

To eat them, you pull away the leaves, dipping them in the accompanying sauce and nibbling on the tender white ends as you go, until you get to the heart. Remove the hairy choke, and then enjoy the tender and succulent heart.

They are a bit messy to eat, but that is part of the fun. I serve the artichokes in soup plates with either a hot or a cold sauce, for everyone to dip to their heart’s content. Make sure you have large napkins on your lap, a large bowl or plate to gather the eaten and discarded leaves, and small bowls with water and lemon to delicately rinse your fingers.

I have to say that my children love this dish, as eating with their fingers is for once totally accepted behavior at the table. What could be better?

Serves 4

  • 4 large globe artichokes
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • Dipping sauce of choice (recipes follow)

Remove one or two layers of outer leaves from each artichoke. Slice the stem and bottom to an even level and chop off about 1 1/2 inch from the top. Sprinkle with lemon juice so it doesn’t discolor.

Place a steamer basket in a large pot over medium heat, and add enough water to reach the bottom of the basket. Squeeze the lemon and add the quarters, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Place the artichokes in the basket and cover. Steam for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the artichoke heart is fork tender and the outer leaves come apart easily. Add more water if necessary.

Using tongs, remove the artichokes from the basket and drain well. If serving warm, serve immediately with the garlic and butter sauce. If serving cold, chill and serve with the lemon mayonnaise.

Garlic Butter Sauce

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes to infuse the butter.

To serve, strain the sauce to remove the garlic, divide into 4 ramekins, and serve alongside the artichokes.

Lemon Mayonnaise Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to use.

To serve, divide into 4 ramekins and serve alongside the artichokes.