Creamy Dressing for Artichokes with Parmesan and Lemon (Berlin, April 29, 2012)

April is one day away from being over, which means that I have just under two months left in the amazing city of Berlin. On the one hand, I’m excited about the upcoming transition to the next phase of my life and my work. There are some big changes coming up, and I’ll talk more about that in a later post. Then again, I feel as though I haven’t done half of the things I want to do here. There’s still lots to work through at the museum in these last few weeks, and there are plenty of people and places I haven’t seen enough of, or seen at all. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.

One of my goals this year though is to do less regretting, and so for these last few weeks the plan is to act rather than ponder. Better late than never is my current slogan. I actually got a tandem partner (someone to speak German with) last week, one of my office mates who is wanting to improve his English. That’s something I said I would do back in October, and even if it’s just for a few weeks I’m glad that I will have done it for a bit before leaving.The next month and a half is not going to be easy, but I think I’m going to look back on it with fond memories.

And what food is better for a frantic week of last-minute planning than a steamed artichoke?

The artichoke was not a favorite of mine growing up, but I’m starting to think of them as adult potato chips. It’s the ultimate natural finger food and essentially provides a vehicle for your favorite condiments- like lemon juice, parmesan, Tabasco and mayonnaise.

Some go for butter and garlic, but what I offer instead is a creamier dressing that might change your mind even if you’re an artichoke purist or, worse, a mayo-hater. The base is parmesan cheese, a half cup grated finely per person. This is mixed into a creamy consistency with a bit of home-made mayonnaise and some fresh lemon juice. The mayonnaise absolutely must be homemade. [ For that, see this previous post. ] You really don’t want to use store-bought in this case.

I really love this dressing. It’s much more satisfying than hot melted butter – for me at least – richer in flavor and yet less greasy. Served with a hot artichoke, the parmesan kind of melts, making the consistency perfect. It might be the world’s best artichoke dressing. There, I said it.

Right now at your local farmer’s market artichokes are likely to be in season, so don’t miss out.

(Maybe the World’s Best) Creamy Dressing for Artichokes with Parmesan and Lemon

Ingredients (enough for 1 large artichoke)

1 large globe artichoke or 2 small

Juice of 1/2 lemon + 1 tbs lemon juice reserved

2 tbs home-made mayonnaise [ recipe here ]

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

2 dashes Tabasco

Directions

Wash the artichoke and trim off the frayed and tough leaves at the base. Some people like to cut off the top, but I find this unnecessary.

If you have a vegetable steamer, fill the bottom of the pot with 3 inches or so of water and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Set the steaming tray into the pan, cover and steam the artichoke over medium-high heat until tender, around 45 minutes for a large one. If you don’t have  steamer, you can boil the artichoke in the water with lemon juice until tender. This will take less time, so after 15 minutes of cooking, check your artichoke every few minutes  by pealing off a leaf to see if the flesh is tender enough to eat.

While the artichoke is steaming, prepare the dressing. First combine the mayonnaise and grated parmesan in a bowl. Then add a teaspoon of lemon juice and two dashes of tabasco and stir gently until well combined.  Taste and adjust the mayonnaise or lemon juice depending on how rich you want the dressing to be.

To serve: remove the artichoke after it has finished steaming, pat dry and serve immediately with the dressing in a separate bowl. It’s best when the artichoke is quite hot. Directions for eating an artichoke complete with photos can be found  [ here ].

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2 comments
  1. Ingrid said:

    Yes! Artichokes were my FAVORITE food as a kid, but seeing as how I grew up in Wisconsin, they were a rare treat. In response to to my incessant pleading for artichokes (and the butter-garlic-lemon juice dipping sauce), my dad once informed me that he would grow them in the garden as long as I would sit out there all winter long to keep the seeds warm in the ground.

  2. sabaladas said:

    You definitely had a more sophisticated palate as a child than I did. Did your dad end up growing them? BTW, I’m going to Florence for a conference in October and want food recommendations if you have them….

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