Steamed Artichokes with Butter Garlic Sauce

I've recently discovered how to prepare and cook artichokes. I admit, I've been intimidated my artichokes when I pass them at the grocery store, but they are actually quite easy when I learned how to cook them. I don't know what I was fussing about. Here's how I prepared them, steamed with a butter-garlic sauce.

2 whole artichokes
1 lemon
3 Tbs of unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic

Zest the lemon.  Fill a large pot with about 1 1/2 inches of water and bring to a boil.  Squeeze the lemon juice in and drop the fruit into the pot.  Lightly salt the water.

The hardest part about cooking artichokes is trimming them.  You have to work quickly to avoid browning, these puppies oxidize so fast!  If you are working with many artichokes, cover the trimmed ones in a bowl of lemon water so they don't brown.

Here we go, cut about an inch off the top of the artichoke.  Cut off the stem.  Open up the leaves a bit and cut the tips off each leaf with shears.  Now, get inside the artichoke and with a grapefruit spoon scoop out the feathery-looking pieces.  Basically, hollow out the artichoke.  If you don't have a grapefruit spoon you can still boil then with without scooping out the feathery bits but just don't eat them.  They're inedible. 

Steam the artichokes in the boiling lemon water for 30 mins.  Cover the pot and make sure the water doesn't dry out throughout the process. Take the artichokes out when they are fork-tender.

Butter-garlic dipping sauce
Slowly melt the butter in a small saucepan under low heat.  Careful not to burn the butter!  Crack the garlic and remove the skins.  Drop them into the butter.  Drop in the lemon zest.  Season with s+p.  Once the butter melts, it forms a white froth on the surface.  Skim that out.  Infuse the garlic and lemon zest for 5 more minutes.  Strain the butter sauce when finished.

Eating an artichoke is fun.  Take off a leaf, dip, and scrape off the meat with your teeth.  Discard the rest of the leaf.

There are so many other sauces you can dip artichokes in - aioli,  salad dressings, cheese sauces.  Do you have any favorite sauces you like to dip your artichokes in?  I want to make these more often now that I know how.

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