When you're shopping, select artichokes that are firm and tight, with as little bruising as possible. You can serve these warm, or make them ahead and serve them at room temperature. You can even make them a day ahead, keep them covered in the fridge and serve them chilled. For illlustrated trimming instructions, see the blog post.
This recipe makes 1 artichoke vinaigrette. To make 2, 3 or 4 artichokes, double, triple or quadruple the artichoke and vinaigrette quantities (half a lemon will still suffice).
1/2 lemon or lemon wedge
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium or 2 small shallots, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim the artichoke: Use a serrated knife to cut the stem flush with the bottom and slice about 1/4 off the top. Break off the small, tough outer leaves near the stem. Use scissors to snip off any remaining tips of leaves. Rub exposed surfaces with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat, add the artichoke, cover pot, reduce heat to medium and boil until the stem end is just tender (but not mushy). This can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how fresh the artichoke is. (Fresher ones cook more quickly). Drain the artichoke upside-down in a colander.
While the artichoke is cooking, make the shallot vinaigrette. Put the vinegar in a small bowl with the salt and the Dijon mustard and whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, add the shallots and a few grindings of black pepper and whisk or stir to combine.
Place the artichoke (stem down) on a serving plate, separate the leaves a bit so they look like an open rose and there's a little space between them to hold the vinaigrette, then pour the vinaigrette over it, covering all the leaves. Serve warm, or at room temperature or chilled.