pen rainbow

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Cupboard—What Rhymes With Artichoke?

A freshly picked artichoke from our garden
Bicycle spoke, antidote, periscope, telescope, anecdote, endoscope

It's artichoke season!  Here is one of my favorite summer recipes for a simple, healthy shrimp salad with fresh steamed artichokes on the side.

I could have tucked the shrimp salad in-between the steamed artichoke leaves, but it was a lot easier just to serve it on a fresh bed of spring greens & baby spinach.

Artichokes take 35 - 45 minutes to steam, so for an easy, no-fuss super, make the salad while the artichokes are cooking and refrigerate it while you wait.  The salad has 6 ingredients (shrimp, celery, olives, onion, lemon juice & mayo) and goes together in a snap.

If you pick artichokes from your garden, be sure to soak them in a bowl full of cold water weighted down with a plate on top.  Buggies will vacate after about 10 minutes, then proceed to snip the leaves & rinse out any remaining debris that might be left down inside of the leaves.

Classic Shrimp Salad with Steamed Artichokes on the Side
Adapted from Weight Watchers Super Foods Cookbook, © 2006
Makes 2 servings
  • 2 large artichokes (make sure that they will fit in your steamer)
  • 1/2 lb. peel & cooked small shrimp
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onion or shallot
  • Two-thirds of a 4.25 oz. can of chopped black olives (about 10 diced olives)
  • 2 T. Best Foods Light Mayo
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T. melted butter or mayo on the side in which to dip your artichokes
  • A liberal dose of cracked black pepper on top of the mayo or hot butter
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves & spring greens (enough for 2 dinner salads)
Classic shrimp salad with baby spinach & spring greens
Pull off the small and discolored leaves near the base of the stems on the artichokes.  With a good pair of kitchen shears, rotate the artichokes and snip off the sharp, pointy tips of each leaf (see the picture of the artichoke from my garden).  With the sharp barbs removed, run a stream of cold water through the leaves, separating them slightly with your fingers.

Depending on the age of the artichoke, you may be able to loosen up the center leaves of the thistle with your fingertips.  This helps the steam penetrate the core of the artichoke, which as all artichoke connoisseurs know, is the yummiest part!   

Cut the stems of the artichokes short so that they stand upright in the steamer.  I use an electric Black & Decker veggie/rice steamer that does a great job on artichokes.  If you use a steamer basket in a pot, bring an inch of water to a boil, cover tightly, and steam for about 35 minutes.  Check the artichokes for doneness by piercing the outside leaves with the tip of a sharp knife.  The artichoke will be tender and the knife point will go in easily.  Remove from the heat & set aside until ready to eat.

Combine the shrimp, celery, onion, olives, mayo & lemon juice.  Serve on top of a generous handful of baby spinach leaves and spring greens.  My grandma used to mix the shrimp salad with lots of fresh torn iceberg lettuce from her garden.  It's delicious that way, too!  Sprinkle on a little paprika for color.  Meanwhile, plate the warm artichokes on the side with a small bowl of seasoned mayo or butter.  Place a big bowl in the middle of the table to throw the leaves into.  

Beverage suggestion:  A glass of lemon or lime flavored sparkling water over lots of ice is lovely with this meal.  If berries are in season, add a fresh half of a strawberry, a sweet blueberry, or a plump blackberry to each glass.  Otherwise, a half-slice of lemon, lime or orange is also wonderful. 

Don't forget to light a candle for the dining table when you serve this healthy & delicious summer supper for two!  ❤