In our busy lives, it’s often hard to find the time to cook anything for dinner that takes longer than 15 or 20 minutes – from grocery bag to table. But I like to make an exception for the artichoke, a graceful and uniquely delicious vegetable whose relatively lengthy cooking time – a 40-50 minute immersion in simmering water – takes some patience but is well worth the wait.
To prepare, snip off the barbed leaf edges with scissors, trim the stem and top with a serrated knife, then place the artichokes in a large pot of cold water with a few lemon slices and a generous dash of balsamic vinegar and coarse garlic powder. Cover the surface of the water with parchment paper (or place a lid on the pot), then bring the water to a boil. When it begins to boil, turn the water down to a gentle simmer and leave the artichokes to cook (covered by the parchment paper or lid) until the flesh on the inner leaves is soft but not mushy. This generally takes about 45 minutes, depending on the size and compactness of the artichokes. Remove the artichokes from the water, turn them upside down, and give ’em a good squeeze to remove any extra water. Serve these beautiful vegetables with a simple mixture of mayonnaise, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. And if you’re in a rush, try pairing the artichokes with a store-bought, pre-roasted chicken – it’s a tasty (and time-saving!) combination.