Artichokes with Gruyere and Fresh Chives | Virtually Homemade: Artichokes with Gruyere and Fresh Chives

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Artichokes with Gruyere and Fresh Chives

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Artichokes are simply a wonderful vegetable.  My Mom prepared them for my sister and I while growing up.  Steamed with warm butter and fresh chives is my favorite combination for dipping the tender green leaves.  I have passed this tradition on to my children and they can easily make a light dinner out of this basic preparation and often long for that unique and satisfying taste.

Artichokes are typically a spring vegetable, although you can usually find them in stores throughout the summer and fall.  Living in California, the largest artichoke producer in the US, I basically find them in the stores year round.
I decided to deviate from my simple preparation this time and research some different cooking techniques.  Basically, artichokes can be sautéed, fried, stuffed, steamed and pickled.  I also found a wonderful post from Simply Recipes, a neighboring food blogger.  The author Elise Bauer, comprehensively describes how to prepare and eat an artichoke.  Since it’s the perfect guide, I’ve included it in my recipe.

The dip I’ve created is only a mild deviation from my classic butter chive soiree.  This sauce is basically a light béchamel complemented by gruyere cheese, nutmeg, a touch of cayenne and fresh snipped chives.  The ritual of pulling and dipping each leaf in anticipation of landing at the meaty and sumptuous heart was hard to give up.  I’ll stuff them another day.
 Artichokes with a Gruyere Dipping Sauce and Fresh Chives
4 tsp. all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (2 ounces)
2 Tbsp. fresh snipped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of nutmeg
dash of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter and garlic until bubbling, but not browned.  Add flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in milk and cook until the sauce bubbles and thickens – approximately 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in Gruyere, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp of chives.  Place sauce in dipping bowl and garnish with the rest of the chives. 
Serve with artichoke.                

1 comment:

  1. I'm always interested to hear about how others traditionally eat artichokes. I grew up enjoying them in a way similar to yours, but with lemon. This Gruyere sauce sounds like a new twist we'd enjoy!


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