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Friday, 3 November 2006

artichokes? NOW?? (Hollandaise sauce…)

Filed under: food & drink,posts with recipes,vegetables — ejm @ 11:01 EDT

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recipe: Hollandaise sauce

(click on image for larger view and more photos)
artichokes and hollandaise A couple of weeks ago, we were moaning about the fact that in June, we had missed out on having our yearly fix of artichokes and hollandaise sauce.

And then, wonder of wonders, artichokes magically appeared at the vegetable store. Good looking artichokes. At a reasonable price. Virtually next door to beautiful looking lemons. Say no more.

T trimmed off the stalks (I’ve heard rumours that one can use those woody stalks – we tried once but they really were too too woody) and steamed the artichokes. Then he made the most brilliant Hollandaise sauce. Not eggy. Smooth. Lemony. Buttery.

And we sat down to dine, slowly pulling the outer leaves off and dipping them in the ambrosial indulgence until the tender hearts were exposed. Oh Bliss! Oh Rapture!

(click on image for larger view and more photos)
artichokes and hollandaise

Hollandaise Sauce
makes enough for 2 hogs

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt (or so)
  • ¼ c unsalted butter
  • juice of ¾ lemon


  1. Put eggs and salt in a double boiler that is over smiling boiling water. Whisk constantly until you see the eggs get frothy and starting to thicken slightly – about twice as thick. But you don’t want to go as far as even beginning to get scrambled eggs.
  2. Gradually add chunks of hard cold butter, whisking constantly until the butter melts and the sauce is about the thickness you want.
  3. Add lemon juice, a quarter lemon at a time. Whisk and taste. Add more lemon if required.

Using this method, any eggy taste will be virtually gone. (We don’t actually know for sure that this works for icecream as well but would be surprised if it doesn’t. Certainly, after we started using this method, our Hollandaise sauce never tastes eggy.)

Serve warm with steamed artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, baked potatoes, eggs benedict….

As accompaniment, we baked potatoes and grilled a piece of pork shoulder. We drank inexpensive sangiovese only after taking bites of grilled pork or potato…. wine tends to not to marry at all well with artichokes.

Oh my my my!!! Once again our dinner was fantastic.

(I never want to have Hollandaise Sauce again… until next spring when artichokes and/or local asparagus appears at the vegetable store.)

The artichokes were so wonderful that we went to get more the next day. But we’re not completely crazy. We dipped the leaves in blue cheese dressing (blue cheese and mayonnaise) instead of Hollandaise. And you know what? It was equally good!

Interestingly, there was no choke in any of the artichokes. What exactly have they been doing to artichokes? Perhaps it’s a good thing that we only have them once a year! :lalala:

edit 5 November 2006:
There’s a pretty good article about artichokes at “Cooking for Engineers”. Lots of good photographs. You can see that he actually cuts the thorns off of the leaves before cooking. We think the artichokes are so pretty uncut that we leave the spines on and are just careful not to eat them.

  • Cooking for Engineers – Grilled Artichokes (
  • Paz

    That meal sounded fantastic, indeed! I’m not very good with artichokes — trimming it and cooking it. There’s something I’m doing wrong.


  • ejm

    We should have taken a photograph or two of an artichoke before trimming and cooking, Paz.

    How we cook artichokes:
    All we do is cut the stem off and then set them upright in a large pot with about a quarter inch of boiling water in the bottom. Cover and steam for about 20 minutes – until you can easily put a fork through the bottom of an artichoke.

    To eat, peel the leaves away one at a time. Dip the bottom fleshy side in Hollandaise (or blue cheese dressing, or vinaigrette) and using your teeth, slide the edible part of the artichoke into your mouth. As you approach the middle of the artichoke, more and more of the bottom leaf will be edible until you reach the choke. Check to see if the little threads have barbs on them. If they do, remove them and put them with the discarded leaf ends. If they don’t, you can eat them with the artichoke heart.

    Hope that all made sense!

  • Paz

    Thanks for your advice. It makes lots of sense so that when I’m brave enough to try the artichokes again, I’ll follow them.
    ;-) Paz

  • Dianne

    I remember the first time I ate artichokes. I was perhaps 5 years old at the most. Till this day (I’m 23), artichokes are my favorite food, and the only way to eat them is with hollandaise sauce!


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