Fresh Artichokes and Recipe for Mom’s Dipping Sauce for Artichokes
I grew up in a family where most of us considered fresh artichokes to be a delicacy, thanks to a wonderful mom who cooked them, even though we had a family of ten kids to feed. It wasn’t until I was well on the way to adulthood that I realized that some people didn’t eat artichokes, and had no idea how to cook them.
The artichoke is interesting in that when you eat them fresh, you have more left than you started with, or so it seems! Only the stem, heart (base where the leaves grow), and the very inner tips of the leaves are edible, but those parts are delicious. Online I was able to find an abundance of artichoke information, including the fact that Marilyn Monroe was once crowned artichoke queen. In the U.S. lots of artichokes come from California. Artichokes are a good source of vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber and minerals, and artichokes are quite nutritious.
Of course all vegetables are best fresh, but canned artichokes can be very good in things like breakfast casseroles or frittatas. Today artichokes are still one of my very favorite foods, and very low in carbs too!
I always choose artichokes with the longest stem I can find, since the stems are tasty. I cut off the stem and cut the artichoke in half. The very center contains fuzz and inedible parts called the “choke”.
Here the choke has been trimmed away carefully with a sharp knife. This is the only part of the cooking process that is at all difficult.
When artichokes are trimmed, put in large pot with a heavy lid (single layer is best, but not totally necessary). Put a few inches of water in the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil. Then cover artichokes and steam for 45 minutes, (or cook in a pressure cooker) until the stem piece can be pierced quite easily with a fork. Let artichokes cool slightly while you make Mom’s dipping sauce.
Mom’s Dipping Sauce for Artichokes
(Makes enough for 2-3 artichokes, recipe from mom, remembered from when she showed me how to make it.)
1/2 cup mayo (do not use light or fat free)
1/2 cup sour cream (do not use light or fat free)
1 1/2 – 2 T fresh lemon juice (or more, these days I’d use a bit more)
Whisk together mayo and sour cream, then whisk in lemon juice and serve with artichokes.You need more sauce than you might imagine because there are a lot of little pieces of the artichoke to dip. Artichokes are also good cold with this sauce. Hot artichokes are also delicious served with melted butter if you’re not on a diet!
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Artichokes do have some carbs, but they aren’t eaten in huge amounts and they’re high in fibers, which makes them good for low-carb diets. Artichokes are also a great low-glycemic food, and even though mayo is a “limited” food on South Beach, when you eat this you aren’t eating the dipping sauce by the spoonful, so I would eat this for any phase of the South Beach Diet.
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