Skip to content

Steamed Artichoke with Spicy Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce

April 26, 2012

I love the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market (second only in my heart to the best farmer’s market ever in Madison, WI), but sometimes I have trouble waking up on Saturday mornings. (Or when I do wake up early on the weekends, I want to stay in and make a fancy breakfast.)

That’s why it was a little bit life-changing to have a local farmer’s market store open in my neighborhood. Now I’ve found a new place for organic kale (although because it’s organic, my girlfriend feels the need to be extra vigilant about checking the leaves for tiny insects), and for the occasional impulse-buy of an artichoke.

The last time I went, they were selling “frost-kissed” artichokes. No doubt a marketing gimmick for what would otherwise be practically unsellable frost-damaged produce if it appeared in a big chain grocery store. But big chain grocery store produce is all too obsessed with looks over flavor, anyway. That’s what’s so lovely and refreshing about farmer’s market shopping sometimes. (One apple stand at the local Saturday market here often displays a box labeled “visually-distressed apples,” and I’m guessing they still taste fine.)

The “frost-kissed” artichoke did indeed look a little visually distressed, but it was purported to only be damaged (browned, like sunburn) on the tips of the leaves, and to have a subtle nutty flavor, which, I think, it did.

The heart is the best part!

At any rate, given how often I’ve been steaming up artichokes recently, I thought I’d write a quick post about how I do it, and tack on a tip for one of the yummiest artichoke dipping sauces ever, other than straight up melted butter.

Just as delicious with frost-free artichokes that have only been kissed by the sun.



Steamed Artichoke with Spicy Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce

For the artichoke:
~ 1 Artichoke
~ 1 sliced lemon round
~ 1 clove of garlic, peeled
~ pinch of salt

For the dipping sauce:
~ 1 egg yolk, preferably at room temperature
~ 1-1½ Tbsp. lemon juice (or vinegar)
~ pinch of salt
~ ⅔ cup canola oil (or slightly more for a thicker sauce)
~ pinch of white pepper (to taste)
~ 1 tsp. (or more) hot sauce of your choice, like Tapatio or Sriracha
~ pinch of cayenne, chipotle, or chili powder, to taste
~ 1 clove garlic, minced

How to make it:

1. Slice off just enough of the top of the artichoke to allow steam to get in, and optionally trim the stem so that it can balance upright. (I don’t think it’s necessary to pull off any of the leaves before cooking.)

2. In a large stockpot, add 1-2 inches of water, and optionally add to the water one peeled garlic clove and a pinch of salt. Then drop in a steamer basket, optionally place a lemon slice in the center of the steamer, and set the artichoke in upside-down on top of the lemon.

3. Cover with a lid and bring the water to a boil (it will only take 2-3 minutes), then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for 30-45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the spicy mayonnaise dipping sauce: Add lemon juice or vinegar to the egg yolk, then blend with an electric hand mixer. Next, begin pouring in the oil very gradually, while whisking with the electric mixer the whole time to keep the emulsion. (You can also do this with a blender or– if you want a work-out– by hand with a whisk.)

5. When the mayonnaise has reached your desired thickness, add a pinch of salt, and optional seasonings like white pepper and hot sauce, cayenne, chipotle, chili, or garlic to taste. Mix once more to distribute the flavors. (This sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a week, and makes a great sandwich spread.)


6. Test the artichoke periodically after 30 minutes by gently tugging on one of the leaves; when the leaves loosen and pop out easily, it’s done! Serve warm with the dipping sauce and/or a small dish of melted butter.

Print this recipe!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica Adelman permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:26 am

    Yum! We had something very similar for dinner last night. I also love eating artichokes with a dipping sauce of lime juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.

    • April 26, 2012 1:33 pm

      Yum, that sounds good! This also makes me want to try it with lime juice, olive oil, & zatar…

  2. April 26, 2012 9:48 am

    California fake aioli = mayo or Kewpie + Dijon mustard + lemon juice + garlic + Tabasco.

    • April 26, 2012 1:35 pm

      This sounds good too! My homemade mayonnaise uses lemon juice already (and I can often still taste the lemon even after adding other flavors), but I should definitely try adding mustard to it sometime, too.

  3. April 26, 2012 11:40 am

    I love that Farmers Market too and always try to go when I’m in town. My big breakthrough with artichokes is that they steam so much faster if you cut them into pieces first–you don’t get that whole beautiful heart but they’re perfect for a fast casual dinner!

    • April 26, 2012 1:39 pm

      Good idea– and that sounds much nicer than using the microwave! (Although usually I don’t mind the 30-or-so minutes it takes to steam, because I can get other stuff ready for dinner in the meantime.)

  4. April 26, 2012 1:33 pm

    I’m enjoying the fact that each of the comments on this post so far feature a recipe tip/modification. These all sound good!

  5. April 26, 2012 1:37 pm

    That’s a lovely looking artichoke – thanks for sharing this.

    • April 26, 2012 1:49 pm

      Thanks! Yep, it was lovely despite being frost-kissed : )

  6. April 27, 2012 12:03 am

    have never tasted Artichoke. Not a dish here in our country. Did see it in one shop though. Must try it.

    • April 27, 2012 1:32 pm

      I hope you get a chance to try one soon! Artichokes are simple and delicious (just not very much food total…).


  1. Homemade Mayonnaise and Garlic Alioli « spontaneous tomato
  2. Homemade Mayonnaise and Garlic Alioli « spontaneous tomato
  3. Fig and Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette « spontaneous tomato

I love, love, love reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: