I’ve always wanted to try this beautiful looking dish but never have due to it seeming much too difficult and fiddly. Well, guess what! It’s so easy and way more delicious and exciting than I had anticipated! It’s a lovely way to get the party started as you will undoubtedly have to explain to your guests that these beautiful flower like vegetables are actually edible, and then how to go about it. It’s hard to explain, and doesn’t sound great when you do, but once you try it with your own mouth you will see why it’s been a popular way to eat artichoke for centuries. I have even seen it described as the lobster of the vegetable world. The sweet and tangy mustard dipping sauce works perfectly with the creamy artichoke meat and made even better with a crisp, cold glass of white wine in the other hand. Perfect entertaining food as it’s entertaining in itself, delicious, and won’t fill up any tummys too much before anything else you may have in store.
So, to explain how to eat this funny looking vegetable. Once you have steamed it and allowed it to cool a little (see recipe), simply pull away a ‘leaf’ from the artichoke, dip the meaty end in the sauce and then place in your mouth while still holding the end of the ‘leaf’. Then use your teeth to gently scrape away the meat as you pull the ‘leaf’ back out of your mouth. Once you get to the middle of the artichoke you will see a sort of hairy section, this is inedible, discard it. Under this though is the artichoke heart, depending on the age of your artichoke, it may be firm and able to be lifted out and chopped into pieces to eat, or, if it’s an older artichoke, it will be soft and you will need a spoon to scoop it out. It’s delicious!
Serves 4 as a snack
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/8 cup honey
2 tbs grain mustard
salt and pepper
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, with a steam basket and lid on top.
Trim the stalk from the artichokes, as well as any dark and dry leaves around the base. Cut off the first 2cm from the top of the artichoke as well.
Once the water is boiling, place the artichokes in the steam basket and steam, lid on, for about 45mins to an hour, or until a ‘leaf’ is able to be easily pulled away.
Remove from the steamer and allow to cool. The artichokes can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
For the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Place in a small bowl to serve alongside the artichokes. Serve with a large empty bowl for the scraps. Enjoy!