Sunday, April 30, 2017

Briny McArtichokeface

Hiya, gang! Hiya, hiya, hiya!

I'm brining my 'chokes before steaming them from now on. It's a little extra effort, but well worth it. The leaves are more tender, and I get to eat more from them. I also add vinegar to the brine. The flavor boost for the artichoke is something special. The color boost makes a nice presentation too.

For one artichoke I make a brine with a tablespoon of salt and whisk in a tablespoon of white vinegar.  Adjust for larger batches.

Now, like Boaty McBoatface, artichokes float. My trick is to put the rinsed and trimmed (a little off the top and remove the stem) artichoke upside down in a small bowlful of brine that is just taller than the artichoke. Then I cover it with a plate, which holds the artichoke in place while it brines. I've been letting them soak for about an hour in the fridge and then draining before putting them into the steamer basket over boiling water for twenty minutes or until the stem stump is fork tender.

Try this, and I assure you that you won't want to go back to the old way. It's delicious.

EDIT: I ate the first artichoke as it was to get the full flavor experience. Last night, I made another and served it with a lemon aioli made with 2 tablespoons of mayo, lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard. So. Good. 

Here's another tip: have two kinds of folding steamer baskets on hand. You can get them cheap, and they fold for easy storage. I also appreciate that the folding type can fit in a variety of pot sizes and I don't have to waste water using a large pot for every time. One small artichoke, for example, can be steamed in a saucepan with the basket's sides up.

I use the one with the center post for propping up artichokes and for steaming corn on the cob or loose vegetables which aren't cooperative with the side-lifting basket. The side-handled basket is great for steaming leftover rice and Chinese food in heat-safe glass bowls that don't play well with the center post. They're also excellent for large food items. If you'd like to save yourself a trip to the housewares department, click through to them below.