You can't be prissy and eat an artichoke at the same time. Artichokes breed familiarity and a lusty, somewhat messy abandon. This version is served with a dipping sauce of olive oil, shallots and Parmesan.
Servings: Makes 2 servings
Ingredients 1 large artichoke , tips trimmed with scissors1 lemon , halvedPinch of salt2 bay leaves6 black peppercorns1 tablespoon each cumin and fennel seeds1/4 cup finely minced shallots1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Carefully remove top 1/3 of artichoke with a serrated knife. Rub with lemon. Using a small spoon, scoop out center to expose heart underneath. Squeeze lemon juice onto heart.
Mix 3 inches water, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns and cumin and fennel seeds in a large pot. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer. Place artichoke and remaining lemon half in a steamer basket in pot and cook until tender, about 45 minutes, making sure water doesn't go below 2 inches. Remove artichoke; strain liquid and set aside. (Steps 1 and 2 can be done in advance; then reheat artichoke in a microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.)
To make sauce: In a skillet over medium heat, cook shallots in olive oil until golden brown. Remove from heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup reserved liquid and remaining ingredients. Season with salt. Serve artichoke warm with sauce.