The artichoke originated in Mediterranean Europe and was first brought to America by the French, who settled in Louisiana in the eighteenth century. However, it was the Spaniards, who settled in the Salinas valley area, that grew them with the most success. This area eventually became the "artichoke capital of the world." Steaming or microwaving are the best methods of cooking artichokes because there is less chance of overcooking and they are easier to drain.
6 large artichokes
1 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, grainy-style preferred
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Wash each artichoke and slice off both ends so that it can sit flatly on a surface. Immediately rub the cut ends with the lemon half to prevent discoloration. Cut away any ragged leaves, and snip off the sharp edges of the leaves with a kitchen scissors. Steam the artichokes in a vegetable steamer, or on a rack in a pot with 1 inch of water and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, over medium heat, or until a leaf can be removed easily. (Be careful not to let the water boil away.) Remove from the pan with tongs, drain thoroughly and chill in a covered container in the refrigerator.
2. Whisk the sauce ingredients together and chill until ready to use.
3. Serve each chilled artichoke with a small container of sauce, garnished with lemon wedges.
Artichokes can be successfully cooked in a microwave oven. Place the trimmed artichokes in a microwave-safe dish and cover with plastic wrap or a domed lid. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender.
Entertaining Light & Easy
By Laurie Burrows Grad
Simon & Schuster, 1998
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2000
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