Artichokes (our favorite, of course!) in a Pressure Cooker
Once again, the pressure cooker makes easy work of one of our very favorite things…our namesake vegetable, the artichoke! Steaming works well for cooking artichokes, but pressure cooking goes it one better. The artichokes cook much more evenly throughout, and are done much more quickly. To quote Laura Pazzaglia of Hip Pressure Cooking: “Artichokes are the darlings of the pressure cooker’s repertoire; it turns this seemingly unapproachable vegetable into a delightful appetizer in minutes.” We couldn’t agree more. You can spend up to 45 minutes steaming artichokes, or take that time down to 15 minutes or less with a pressure cooker.
Artichokes, to the uninitiated, can be a bit intimidating, but they are really quite easy to cook and eat. First, using a sharp knife, trim the stem, then cut off about 1″ of the top of the artichoke, and and finally, trim the sharp, thorny tips from the remaining leaves (best done with a good pair of kitchen shears). Place them in your pressure cooker stem side down and follow the recipe below.
The easiest way to eat cooked artichokes is to pull the leaves off one at a time and scrape the soft flesh off the leaf with your teeth. It’s even better if you dip them in butter or aioli first. Once you get down to the tiny leaves toward the choke (that hairy, inedible part), cut the choke away from the bottom of the artichoke and discard it. You can cut the fleshy bottom into pieces, and it is the prize at the end of your journey!
You can serve the artichokes warm or chilled. Our favorite summer appetizer is cold artichokes with a good gin martini! Cook the artichokes up to a day ahead of time and chill them. To serve, pull all the leaves off and artfully arrange on a platter with quartered artichoke bottoms, and serve with aioli.
Makes 4 servings
First, using a sharp knife, trim the stem, then cut off about 1″ of the top of each artichoke. Trim the sharp, thorny tips from the remaining leaves (best done with a good pair of kitchen shears).
Add 1¼ cup water to the bottom of a 6- or 8-quart pressure cooker. Add artichokes stem side down and seal the lid. Bring to high pressure (15 lbs.). Cook for 15 minutes (small artichokes may require less time). Rapidly release pressure and then carefully open lid. Remove artichokes.
Artichokes can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. Serve with melted butter, lemon, mayonnaise, hollandaise, and/or aioli (see recipe below).
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¾-1 cup olive oil
In bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade, mix together all ingredients except for the oil. Process until smooth, light, and lemon colored. Slowly add oil drop by drop in a steady stream until mixture forms a thick, emulsified paste. Taste for seasoning. Serve cold.
[Even easier, if you have a Bamix immersion blender, just put all the ingredients in the blender jar, use the blending blade and start blending at the bottom of the jar. Once you can see that the mixture is starting to solidify, move the Bamix up and down each side of the blender jar until you reach the right consistency.]
**Can be prepared the day before.
Karen’s Quick “Cheater” Aoili
For a quick but excellent substitute for a true aioli, just mix some good quality mayonnaise with about 1/3 to 1/2 as much Dijon mustard (to taste), and add some crushed garlic and lemon juice to taste. Super easy, super quick, and super tasty with artichokes!