Spring Celebration: Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Mayonnaise

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Photo By Joe Coca
Simple, elegant and sublime, artichokes are a spring ritual not to be missed.

Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Mayonnaise
Serves 6

There’s a sense of spring ritual to eating artichokes. Their flavor–bitter, sweet, and green all at once–is wonderful with simple butter and lemon, but this easy mayonnaise-based sauce adds a pleasant tang. The artichokes can be prepared in advance and served at room temperature.

6 medium-size artichokes
1 lemon
Garlic mayonnaise with Dijon mustard and horseradish (see recipe below)

1. Cut the stem ends of the artichokes flush with the bases. Rub all cut surfaces with cut lemon. Snap off the lower outer leaves and cut off any thorny tips.

2. Put the artichokes in a steamer or heavy nonreactive pan large enough to hold them loosely. The lid must fit tightly. Pour water into the pan to reach the bottom of the steamer, or about 1 to 11/2 inches deep. Add a slice of lemon to the water.

3. Cover the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly and cook the artichokes for 20 to 30 minutes or until an inside leaf detaches easily. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish, and serve hot or at room temperature.

Garlic Mayonnaise with Dijon and Horseradish
Makes 1 generous cup

1 cup homemade or good-quality mayonnaise
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
2 to 4 teaspoons grated horseradish
Vinegar or lemon juice, optional

Combine mayonnaise, garlic, mustard, and horseradish in a small bowl and blend well. Taste for pungency and add a little more horseradish, or a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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