Artichokes, getting to the heart of it
It’s easy for artichokes to make their way into fatty foods, like mayonnaise or cream cheese-based dips, or end up plated alongside melted butter for dipping. But there are plenty of ways to prepare the spring vegetable without sabotaging its nutritional benefits.
How to Purchase: When artichokes are at their peak, they are colorful, crisp, and their leaves are tightly packed. Double-check the stem for freshness. If it’s blackened, that’s an indicator that the artichoke has been stored for a while and may taste bitter. If there are a few brown or soft spots, they can be removed during preparation.
How to Prepare: If there are small thorns on the ends of the leaves, use kitchen scissors to remove them. Remove about ¾” from the tip of the artichoke and any excess stem. Rinse the artichoke.
How to Eat: Pull away each leaf from a cooked artichoke. Draw the leaf through your teeth to scrape off the pulpy or “meaty” portion, and then discard the tough portion of the leaf. Once you have eaten all the leaves, you’ll get to the choke of the artichoke—that’s the fuzzy part that covers the artichoke heart. Scrape away the fuzzy stuff to get to the heart, and then cut it into pieces.
RECIPE FOR SIMPLE ARTICHOKES STEAMED WITH GARLIC SAUCE
1 artichoke 2 tsp minced garlic 1 tsp lemon juice (or 2 to 3 slices of lemon) Garlic Sauce (recipe below)
Artichoke Instructions: Fill a large pot with a few inches of water. Add the garlic and lemon juice.Place a steaming basket in the pot and place the artichoke in the steaming basket. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the leaves are easily removed. Serve warm or cold with Sauce.
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt 2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp minced garlic 1 tsp lemon juice
Sauce Instructions - makes: 1 cup: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. For the best flavor, chill for 4 hours before serving. Serve with steamed artichoke hearts (above).