Artichokes...most of us have had them in dips, out of jar on salads or walked past them in the grocery store completely intimidated by the look of them. I know, because I'm all of the above. So this past month, I challenged myself to actually make an artichoke. I had one left over from an Olive Oil Tasting 101 class - because I wanted to demonstrate/compare the green flavor of one of our olive oils to the essence of the artichoke - and thought okay, now is my chance to overcome my reluctance to working with this item.
So I looked up basic cooking techniques for making an artichoke and found out it can really be as easy as giving the artichoke a quick trim/peel and boiling a pot of water with a bayleaf, clove of garlic and slice of lemon.
Then the question became what do I serve with it? Artichokes are creamy by themselves, but not very big in the flavor department. They lend themselves to dips and sauces pretty conveniently. So I started to experiment. What I came up with was a Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Mayonnaise. The richness of the mayo mixed with the acid and sweetness of the balsamic balances perfectly with the creaminess of the artichoke. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the dip is done.
Recipe for the dip:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
pinch of black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar into the mayo, fold in the salt and pepper. Serve with the steamed artichokes.
Makes enough dip for about 2 full sized artichokes. Can be served as an appetizer or as an entree.