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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Steamed Baby Artichoke with Balsamic Vinaigrette

steamed baby artichoke in balsamic vinaigrette recipe

I've been on the fence about artichokes.

I like canned artichoke hearts a lot - as toppings on homemade pizza, or in salads and paninis. As to fresh artichokes, it just seems like it is more work to eat it than to cook it... however, these purple baby artichokes at the Farmer's market were begging to be given another chance in my kitchen and the results were quite satisfactory :)

The few times I've had whole large green artichoke steamed and served with melted garlic butter, it seemed like I was discarding more than ingesting the leaves, at least the outer spiky fibrous leaves.

And it reminded me of eating murungakai (Moringa oleifera, aka drumstick) when I was little - a long spiky vegetable usually served in sambars in South India: murungakai has soft flesh with a thick ridged outer skin which, even after hours of cooking is never soft enough to swallow. So, one has to scrape the inner pulp with one's teeth and discard the skin.

steamed baby artichoke in balsamic vinaigrette recipeWhile this variety is a mature artichoke (nothing much baby about it except its size), it seemed to not have as many harsh and thorny outer leaves, and that was one primary reason I wanted to give it another try.

Boiling usually leeches out nutrients and color, so, I liked to steam it. I used the steamer that is part of my rice cooker, but, I am sure idli cooker or even microwave would be fine to steam these. And rather than melted butter sauce, I just drizzled some home-made balsamic vinaigrette.

whole baby artichokes

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp finely chopped spring onions

  1. Trim the stem and outer leaves, cut the tip off a bit and steam the artichokes till a toothpick inserted at the bottom goes through without resistance
  2. Prepare the vinaigrette, fan out the leaves a bit, drizzle over the steamed artichoke and serve fresh, or allow to marinate for about 15-20 minutes before serving

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