The most beautiful artichokes start arriving in March. Unscathed by their short trip over the Santa Cruz mountains to our local market they are green and blemish free. A short hour away in Castroville one can see artichoke bushes fading into the horizon in every direction. This is a dream come true for an Italian artichoke lover!
A very simple way to serve artichokes that showcases their wonderful flavor is to steam them and serve them with an herb and garlic mayonnaise.
I start by trimming the stem and the sharp side leaves. then slice the tight remaining leaves at the top.
I set the artichokes in a steamer over about 2 inches of water and steam until the stem is pierced easily by a fork. The dip is made by mixing mayonnaise with finely chopped fresh dill, a minced garlic clove and a twist of black pepper.
The final product – the purple choke in the center of the artichoke is easily scooped out with a spoon.
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