Fresh artichokes with lemon dip

Artichokes have always been something like a mystery to me. I love having them on pizza or in pasta, but then they usually come from a jar and are already processed. That made me wonder, though, how this odd, flowery shaped vegetable would actually taste like when it's fresh. Plus, have you ever handled an artichoke? I wasn't even sure how I would transform that tough, spiky exterior into something remotely edible. But let me tell you, it was worth trying. 

Ingredients

Depending on how many mouths you want to feed and whether you want to have them as a starter or a main dish you will need: 

  • 1 - 2 artichokes per person (I used 3 smaller ones for 2 people as a starter)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp high-quality olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup

Recipe

1. For the dip, squeeze the juice from the lemon (keep the squeezed-out lemon halves for later). Mix with olive oil, mustard and agave syrup and set aside. 

2. Bring a big saucepan of water to the boil.  

3. Remove the outer leaves of the artichokes. With a sharp knife trim the top of the artichokes. Immediately rub with the remaining lemon halves to prevent the artichokes from turning brown. 

4. Break (do not cut!) off the artichokes' stems. This will help loosen the fibers inside and make your artichokes a lot easier to eat later on. Plus, they will actually fit your saucepan ;-) 

5. Place the prepared artichokes into the saucepan of boiling water, stems up. Let simmer for about 20-25 minutes (depending on size and number of artichokes this can vary). 

6. Enjoy whilst still hot with lemon dip or any other dip of your choice. I usually don't give instructions on how to eat something, but in this case, for anyone who has never had artichokes, here is a great guide on how to eat artichokes ;-)