It’s April so we’re celebrating the artichoke. Electrolux partner Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen shares tips, insights, and recipes featuring the versatile and often-overlooked vegetable.
There was a time when you couldn’t attend a cocktail party without seeing a few steamed artichokes paired with a rich creamy dipping sauce. For whatever reason though, the hors d’oeuvre fell out favor over the years. Maybe it’s the pointy leaves — it is, technically, a thistle, after all — that intimidated home cooks and guests alike. This month, do your friends and family a favor, and introduce them to this deliciously elegant dish. At the end of the day, those leaves are really just a delivery mechanism for whatever butter, aioli, or cheese sauce you serve with it, and who can resist that?
In this recipe, you’ll steam the artichokes, but during warmer months they can also be grilled. If you don’t have a steamer basket, use a pot with a shallow amount of water, and rest the artichokes in the bottom to steam them. A basket does help keep vegetables from becoming soggy in water, but artichokes are sturdy enough to steam without. If planning ahead, you can steam the artichokes a day in advance of when you plan to serve them.
Here, warm ricotta and crème fraîche act as the dip, which rests conveniently in the center of the artichoke. Oregano and lemon zest enhance ricotta’s simple flavor. For a little more punch, add some crumbled blue cheese or salty, shredded pecorino to the ricotta.
While this makes a great appetizer, you can also pick out bigger artichokes and serve them as a light dinner, or pair with a seared steak or roasted chicken.