Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Artichokes with Lemon Butter

Need some last minute Valentine's dinner plans? Think artichokes. They're tender and subtly flavored, reminiscent of a flower, and have a heart in the middle. The possibilities for metaphor are endless. Though artichoke season isn't quite begun yet (usually in March), you can still find them available. Look for 'chokes with a very firm center when squeezed, and bright, healthy-looking leaves.

There are many ways to cook this wonderful vegetable, but one is the most romantic; we'll let Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking show the way. It involves boiling the artichokes whole after a bit of trimming and pairing them with a rich, lemony butter. Eating artichokes this way is marvelous—leaf by leaf, you'll peel away the layers, scraping the flesh away with your teeth, as each leaf nearer the center grows more tender. Best of all, when you reach the middle and scoop out the prickly choke you're left with one big piece of tender "heart," which is basically the base and stem, and the best part to eat. If decadence = romance, a recipe which encourages the ingestion of lots of butter is a sure-fire win.

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