Monday, April 19, 2010

Artichokes with Hollandaise Sauce

Charisse has always loved artichokes, a favorite food since she was a kid. They really are a great little kid food, you get to pull them apart leaf by leaf, scraping the meat off with your teeth, what fun! So to celebrate that artichokes are quickly coming into season and our local market had the most gigantic and beautiful artichokes available this weekend and we couldn't pass up the chance to do an artichoke dish. Now we usually chow down on artichokes with just a bit of salt and pepper, but we decided to try a classic by dipping our leaves into a buttery hollandaise sauce. This was the first time we've done a hollandaise sauce and it was a challenge! Halfway through Charisse said her arm felt as though it would fall right off after all the constant whisking but it was obviously well worth it! Its clear now why the French always eat their artichokes this way, although how they stay so skinny is a mystery because this sauce was insanely rich with a half stick of butter and egg yolks that are whipped into a wonderously frenzied submission. Please be patient when whipping this sauce up because it will turn out fabulous and build you great arms at the same time! Or if you have a youngster in the house that need to build some character, this is a perfect task. It was a little worrisome at about the halfway point, when something is supposed to thicken, it usually does so gradually. This one took a while, lots time and whisking, but all of a sudden it started to thicken. Smooth buttery custard like hollandaise came magically into being, ready to stick to the good meaty part of an artichoke leaf and bless your mouth with wonder.

Pictures and Recipe after the break

What You Will Need

1 Artichoke per person

You will need 1 artichoke per person.  To clean your artichoke, start by chopping the prickly tops off the leaves, for the leaves around the lower sides, I used some kitchen shears to just make a straight cut to remove the point.  Next remove the small, hard leaves around the bottom near the stem of the artichoke. We like to cut the stems off ours so they will sit pretty and straight on the plate. 

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the artichokes with a lid for about 20-45 minutes (depending on how large yours are) until the bottom leaves pull off easily.  Drain

Hollandaise Sauce

What You Will Need

1 Tbs white vinegar
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
4 Tbs boiling water
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt

Melt the butter in a small bowl and keep warm.  Set aside.

In another small bowl, mix the vinegar and lemon juice and warm up in the microwave and keep warm.  Set aside.

In a small sauce pot, boil some water (this is where you will get your 4 Tbs of water from)

In a double boiler whisk the egg yolks and as they begin to thicken, slowly add 1 Tbs of boiling water and whisk, making sure not to scramble the eggs!  Repeat process until all 4 Tsp of water are added.

Slowly add the lemon and vinegar mix and whisk whisk whisk.

Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the melted butter, a little at a time until it is all incorporated into the sauce.  Finish the sauce by adding the salt and continue whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth.

adapted from Mastering The Art of French Cooking


  1. i absolutely love artichokes and i've NEVER thought of pairing them with hollandaise sauce! :P i always pair them with a lemon-garlic aoli. but hollandaise...i might make this happen soon. :D

  2. I prefer the lemon-garlic aoli...artichokes and garlic are just a great go together!!!

  3. ANYTHING and garlic go great together! I've always just done some garlic and melted butter together. We'll have to do an aoli for me one of these days! --Eric