Steamed artichokes are another spring favorite food. Along with asparagus and strawberries, this is one of the foods I recall being truly seasonal when I was a kid. If you didn’t get a feast of all during a short time period in the spring, it was a long time coming to taste these again. Now, of course, all are available year round, though as far as I can tell, they only truly taste good in season, in the spring and early summer. We’re lucky here in the PNW that all three grow easily and readily and are available in both the grocery stores and at the farmer’s market.
Artichokes are a wonderfully messy food – they require some sort of dipping sauce to complement their meaty goodness. I’m a fan of lemon juice, butter and garlic powder, as this is essentially the only dipping sauce I ever knew to accompany artichokes when I was younger. This week, though, I decided to branch out a bit. I’m a huge fan of the garlic aioli that comes with fried asparagus at Burgerville, the happy, local meat fast food place here in Oregon. I thought it might be good with artichokes, so made my own variation. This is a wonderful afternoon snack and I’m totally in favor of eating it at my desk, messy though it may be. My only advice about this is to bring an ample supply of napkins. The only thing that could make this better would be to be on a picnic, drinking white wine and lounging on the bank of a river. Either way, enjoy!
Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Aioli
4 artichokes, stems trimmed and tips of leaves trimmed
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of salt
Place a steamer basket at the bottom of a large saucepan. Fill the pan with water up to the base of the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the artichokes and cover, steaming for 30 to 45 minutes. You can check the artichokes for doneness by pulling on a leaf – if it comes off easily, the artichoke is done.
Add all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined.
Serve the artichokes with garlic aioli on the side.