As I have (probably) mentioned elsewhere on this blog when the subject of artichokes comes up, I was raised eating artichokes one way, and one way only: steamed, with a ramekin on the side of melted butter liberally salted and lemoned.
Eating artichokes this way is one of the purest pleasures on earth--a slow scraping of each individual leaf, then freeing the heart from its prickly mantle and devouring it in quarters in the last dredges of milky, lemony butter.
It's inconceivable to me that anybody would want to eat artichokes any other way, but apparently they do. Here's one of those other ways--Artichokes with Garlic Pimiento Vinaigrette.
This recipe has you steam artichokes in the usual way, but only after you trim them and extricate the choke with a melon baller. This is, my lambs, easier said than done--depending on how farm-fresh your artichoke is, you might have a struggle getting those inner leaves pried open enough to scrape out the choke. I did and was none too happy about it. BUT it's always good to have an opportunity to trot out your most creative swear words.
While they're steaming you'll make the vinaigrette--a pleasant garlic/oil/vinegar brightened up with chopped pimientos and parsley. It makes for pretty plate! I couldn't bring myself to serve the artichokes cold (for me cold food requires 80 degree days) so mine were warm-ish, and although my dinner companions ate these up (and so did I) frankly I like them better served hot with lemon butter. Sorry.
Exciting late-breaking Artichoke News: while exchanging tales of Easter dinners in the break room at work, one of my co-workers mentioned his mother's stuffed artichoke recipe--bready and garlicky and buttery. That sounds like something I can get behind--Mike, please ask your mom for the recipe!