Artichokes are a mean and vicious vegetable, but they taste really good. If you are willing to put aside 30 minutes to prepared these spiky bulbs and risk personal injury in the process (they can and will cut you) you will be well rewarded with succulent artichoke leaves and hearts to enjoy. They are the perfect indulgence.
1/2 cup Mayonaisse
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
1/2 tablespoon Capers, minced
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Prepared Horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Whole Grain Mustard
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Lemon (reserved from Remoulade Sauce)
2 1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup White Wine
1 teaspoon Salt
The remoulade sauce is the easiest part of this dish; take all of the ingredients and mix them together (reserve the lemon that you use for the zest and save it for the poaching liquid). Place the remoulade in the refrigerator to let the flavors mary while you prepare the artichokes.
Next, mix together your water and wine in a medium sized sauce pan. Cut the lemon you zested for the remoulade in half and squeeze the juice into the rest of the liquid. You can also add in the halves themselves for good measure. Set the pot aside.
Now for the challenge. Preparing artichokes requires a few steps. The steps themselves are not hard, but they are a bit time consuming. To start, you will want to remove the top third of the artichoke, it is inedible and will be discarded (this is sadly true of about 50% of the artichoke).
Once you have lopped off the top of the artichokes you will want to remove the first few layers of leaves on the outside of the vegetables and then quarter them and then go about the unpleasant task of removing the “choke.” Your best tool for this will probably be a regular spoon. At this point you need to work quickly as the artichokes will oxidize (like apples or potatoes do), you can prevent them from browning by placing the quarters you are done with in the poaching liquid. Dig the spoon under the fuzzy looking area in the center of the artichoke and remove with it the purple tinged innermost leaves (which are sharp). Lastly, take a vegetable peeler and remove the darker green layer of skin on the stem. Congratulations! You have successfully “broken down” an artichoke. If you’re storing your prepared artichokes in the poaching liquid remove them and place the liquid over medium high heat. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce the heat. Add your artichokes in. Poach them for about 10 minutes or until a paring knife can be easily inserted into the artichoke. Have a bowl of ice water ready and as soon as the artichokes are tender remove them from the pot and plunge them in the water to keep them from overcooking.
Your final step is to heat a grill pan (or an actual grill) to medium high heat. Oil the surface well and place your artichokes on the surface to reheat and get a little char. They should take about 2 minutes per side to cook. Pull them off the grill and serve them immediately.
Tips and Tricks:
Remoulade sauce takes many forms. You can add different vinegars, you can add different spices. Feel free to experiment and make it your own.
Remoulade sauce is also a great accompaniment to fish and shellfish.
If you are making the artichokes for a group you can do the time consuming work ahead of time. Poach them, shock them in the ice water and then drain them well. If you have the room to do so, place them in your refrigerator in a colander with a bowl beneath it. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap. If you don’t have the room for that just lay them in a single layer with several layers of paper towels beneath. Cook them within 8 to 12 hours.
Serves 2 people. Can easily be adjusted, allow 1 artichoke per person.