Rethinking Steamed Artichokes

by Cate on April 15, 2009

Steamed Artichokes
Growing up, steamed artichokes were a frequent friend at our family dinner table. My mom would set a bowl of them down, alongside a vinaigrette for dipping the leaves in, and we’d all go to town. Well, the girls would. My mom, sister and I would each eat two apiece while my Dad was all “no thankyouverymuch.” We’d dip leaf after leaf into the tangy vinaigrette, working our way down to the best part of the artichoke, the heart. What a great reward that soft fleshy heart is … total yum.

They’re still a favorite for me and I make them myself, but just for me since no one else here was a fan. But then a few months ago, that all changed when Nick grew interested as he watched me rip leaf after leaf off, dipping it into our old standby vinaigrette.

“Mom, what is that?”

“An artichoke. Do you want to try a bite?”

At first he said no, then a few minutes later he changed his mind and tried one. And then another. And another. He loved them, all except for the artichoke’s heart, silly boy. Now whenever we see nice ones in the grocery store, he automatically grabs a few and puts them into the cart. I love that he loves them.

Last week I was reading an article about artichokes and it had a suggestion of dipping the leaves in melted butter. Hmmm … melted butter. I mentioned it to my mom over the weekend and she asked, “Instead of our usual vinaigrette?” See?! I’m not the only one resistant to change sometimes. ;)

On our next trip to the grocery store, we bought four artichokes (big and gorgeous ones this time) and that night I told Nick that we were going to try the melted butter as a dipping sauce instead of our usual sauce.

“If I don’t like it, can you make the other one?” he asked.

“Yes, absolutely,” I said.

I didn’t think we’d have anything to worry about. I mean, hello? Melted butter. Bourbon, bacon, butter … you can’t go wrong with any of them. We dipped leaf after leaf into the melted butter, the slight saltiness being the perfect foil for the artichokes.

Madeline caught wind of what we were doing, more to the point that we were eating something that we hadn’t shared with her, and squealed until I relented and gave her a leaf to try. It took a few times before she got the hang of it, and ate from the right end, but once she did, she was keeping right up with us, eating leaf after leaf. I love that she loves artichokes as much as Nick and I do.

And so a new tradition begins, with the three of us sharing artichokes now. The only dilemma will be melted butter or vinaigrette?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

ciaochowlinda April 15, 2009 at 10:27 pm

How terrific that your little ones love artichokes. I love that picture. I made some last week, stuffed with a bread stuffing.

ciaochowlindas last blog post..Bean and Ham Soup


maris April 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Bourbon, bacon, butter …. and chocolate! You forgot one!

mariss last blog post..Real Food & Mustard Cheddar Crackers


Claire April 16, 2009 at 12:08 am

Unfortunately, I’m with your dad…don’t really like the chokes! I’m so glad that your kids are such adventurous eaters! BTW, I think Maddie has spaghetti sauce in her ear. :-) (Love it!)

Claires last blog post..From An Expert


fjk April 16, 2009 at 1:43 am

I grew up eating artichokes with melted butter and garlic. Now I make a garlic and yogurt dip and (luckily for me) my kids didn’t use to like the hearts, too. Maybe its something about the texture?

fjks last blog post..Buenos Aires Photo of the Day – My First Empanada in Argentina


Sarah Caron April 16, 2009 at 6:45 am

I grew up on artichokes dipped in butter! YUM. What a great thing for the three of you to share.

Sarah Carons last blog post..Creme Brulee French Toast


Kris #40 April 16, 2009 at 7:43 am

How do you cook them? And can you share your sauces for them?



Cathy April 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

I love artichokes but have never been able to convince my husband they are good. Maybe I’ll have to try the melted butter trick on him.

Cathys last blog post..Easter trip – pictures around my parents place


Lesley April 16, 2009 at 10:20 am

I don’t think I’ve even ever had aritchoke, but I need to change that! haha.

Lesleys last blog post..Happy At Houlihan’s


J April 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Maddie is too cute! I have a love affair with artichoke hearts, especially marinated ones. I don’t have the patience to scrape a small bit off of each little leaf. Not enough bang for my buck ;). Kudos on getting your kids to eat/taste a wide variety of foods. I was probably in my mid teens before I ever had an artichoke – but that was probably b/c I just didn’t ever encounter them.


debbie April 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm

What a sweet story! Think I’ll have to pick up an artichoke or two, try it on Harry. As if.

debbies last blog post..And as long as I’m a posting fiend…


Cate April 16, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Claire – notice the full-on bib? Her and spaghetti are a very messy combination! She loves it so much, but darn it if it doesn’t end up EVERYWHERE!

Debbie – what IS it with guys and artichokes? Hoping I may have created an exception with Nick, but only time will tell.

J – I hear ya on the little reward part. I used to be the same way with ribs. ;)

Lesley – you must! At least just once!

Cathy – holding breath. :)

Kris – #40 – lol! Cut off most of the stem of the artichokes and put them in a big pot filled with water. Cover with lid and put on high heat. Let them boil for about 35 minutes or so. They’ll be done when the leaves pull off easily. Remove artichokes and put in serving bowl. For sauces, the vinaigrette is a little bit of salt, and a 2:1 ratio of olive oil and vinegar (i.e., 1/2 cup oil to 1/4 cup vinegar). Mix and dip. For the butter, I used 2 tablespoons of melted butter for 4 artichokes, and it was plenty. I also read that someone put a splash of lemon juice in the melted butter for another twist.

Sarah – I wholeheartedly agree!

FJK – oh the garlic sounds like a perfect addition to the melted butter. Strange about the hearts, isn’t it? More for us!

Linda – I have yet to make them stuffed, but really want to. Have a good recipe?

Maris – LOL. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but my mother would definitely agree.


Sarah April 16, 2009 at 3:39 pm

If you like the vinaigrette AND you like the butter, you’ll love squeezing some lemon juice in the butter and then dipping! :) Butter, tangy, delicious!


Elise April 16, 2009 at 4:09 pm

We’ve always dipped our artichoke leaves in mayonnaise. A few years ago I added a little bit of balsamic to the mayo to make a dip and never looked back. Really love it with the balsamic.


Chrissy April 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Yum, I love artichokes. Especially the hearts! I think I might prefer the vinaigrette to the butter. (Although, you’re right, you can’t go wrong with butter.) It’s great that your kids like them too. :-)


Heather April 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm

that’s a good dilemma to have :)

Heathers last blog post..The Lime of My Eye


Jamie April 17, 2009 at 5:44 am

Love artichokes, but my grown boys do not! Wonderful that your little ones discovered them so young.

I say both butter and vinaigrette!

I serve mine with a homemade mayo which I jazz up with a dash of red wine vinegar and stir in loads of freshly grated parmesan. How yummy is that?

Jamies last blog post..RISE TO THE CHALLENGE


Patsy April 17, 2009 at 10:15 am

We almost always dip ours in melted butter… sometimes with a bit of mustard mixed in – yum! Gonna have to grab some artichokes next time I see them, seems like forever since we’ve had them!

Patsys last blog post..Almond Crusted Chicken


Magda April 17, 2009 at 11:14 am

My husband LOVES them with melted butter, mayo and garlic. Growing up, I always ate them the italian way…stuffed!


Nanette April 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm

We use melted butter, a touch of lemon juice and some herbs…taragon, etc. Whatever I have. It is so good! My kids, husband, and I can’t get enough…although they dip their artichokes in mayo…yuck.


Robyn April 17, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I always have either mayo with lemon or butter with lemon. Love the idea of a bit of garlic though! I just got 2 artichokes in my organic produce delivery so I’ll be having them early next week.


Lisa April 18, 2009 at 4:04 am

OH wow, your entry brought back memories of these fantastic stuffed artichokes I used to make, combining a recipe by Biba Caggione with a friend’s grandmom’s recipe. Italian bread, Parmigiano-Reggiano. olive oil, lemon, zest, white wine, prosciutto, fresh herbs etc. Once I can get into the kitchen again, I’m making them and blogging it!

That said, your little cutie is such a doll! I didn’t develop a taste for ‘chokes until I was in my early 20’s! She already has a refined palate – no doubt inherited from her mama ‘D

Lisas last blog post..POM IS wonderful


ttfn300 April 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm

aaah, love it :) i have yet to try artichokes this way, i’ve only ever had them from a can/jar or the freezer…

ttfn300s last blog post..Brie!


Elyse April 20, 2009 at 2:45 am

Looks like the artichoke tradition is carrying on! How wonderful. I’ve had artichokes dipped in butter before, but never vinaigrette. I can’t wait to try that out!

Elyses last blog post..Sweet Melissa Sundays: Apple (Pear) Turnovers


Sara April 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I have never eaten a artichoke like that, but you are right, you cannot go wrong with butter, bourbon, and bacon!

Saras last blog post..Little Italy in New York City


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