I went to the market the other day
and came home with some delights
and this celery root.
If celery root were a dog, it would be a pug.
I also came home with artichokes. Artichokes from Bretagne (a region famous for them) are huge!
I can barely squeeze three in the pot. Now, if you’re going to prepare artichokes, you’re going to have to get over your fear of using a pressure cooker, that it will explode or something. It simply won’t. That’s what that scary shrieking steam valve is for!
Tracie prepares her artichokes in a microwave, which I learned on her post about comfort food, but I’ve never tried that and somehow think they wouldn’t be done properly. But maybe I’m making much ado about nothing and it’s the easier and simpler way.
In any case, I think she’s pretty cool to have artichokes as a comfort food.
Add a full glass of water
and make sure the valve is down because without the pressure, it’s just a cooker. (Speaking of which, you could probably cook artichokes in a covered pot if you used more water and about doubled the cooking time, but now is your time to make the foray into pressure cooking, isn’t it?
We all need a little more pressure in our lives. Heh heh.
These artichokes are huge, like I said, and won’t be done unless they’re cooked a full 45 minutes. I turn down the heat only slightly when I hear the steam whistle. You can reduce the time with smaller artichokes, but if you’re cooking more than one, give them at least a half hour.
Then you need to let the steam out. With this kind of pressure cooker, I found that you can burn your hands if you push the pink lever back up to release the steam. So I stick a vegetable peeler right in the source and let it go to town.
I really should have polished that lid, shouldn’t I have?
Open, twist the lid, and voila!
The artichokes have shrunk in the cooking. I take one of the leaves out of the middle of the top artichoke and if comes out easily your artichokes are done. If you have to tug at it, it’s worth cooking it more or you won’t get to enjoy the heart as much.
To prepare the sauce, we’re going for the ole standby of dijon mustard. Once you taste this, you will never go back to melted butter again.
Take a pretty little dish and put a heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard
and four overflowing tablespoons of olive oil. (When I said only three tablespoons for the salad dressing, I didn’t wish to shock you, but the French often use four!) I would definitely go with 4 for the artichokes.
Aw, why not add just a splash of balsamic for some sweetness (but don’t overdo it).
Okay, my artichoke is flopping about on the plate, which is less pretty but will taste much better because it means it’s well cooked.
And you’ll need another large plate for the dressing and the leaves.
Take a leaf, dip …
and scrape the artichoke flesh off with your teeth (for lack of a more elegant way of expressing it).
Bunny ears! Want to see that dippin’ again? Miam miam!
You eat all the large leaves that way and as you work your way inwards, the leaves get much more delicate.
Pretty soon, you can pinch the top of the leaves all together and remove them like a hat.
And then you’re left with the hair.
See? Even the trash tray of discarded leaves looks good when you serve artichokes.
Back to the hair. You don’t want to eat it, so stick your fork underneath and see how easily the entire chunk comes up with your fork (if your artichoke is well done).
Scalp that baby and you’re left with the heart.
Ah, the heart. The heart. Flip it over to remove any traces of stem, because although it tastes just as good, it’s too stringy to eat.
Cut it in pieces and scoop up that remaining dressing with it.
You have been amply rewarded for your hard labor.