Every action provokes an opposite and equally aggravating reaction.
For instance, should the season’s first artichoke inspire you to action — lighting the grill — you will collide with the reaction of empty propane tank, dead ignition and rusted grates. Leading to artichoke abandonment.
Likewise, should you take action against a heap of household mail, you will learn that your city has activated a Safe Speed Automated Enforcement Program and that your recent action at 40 miles per hour, in a school zone, has been clocked at 15 miles and $40 beyond the limits of the law.
And, should you, giving up on snack and summons, activate the car at a Safe Speed to indulge your dog in some off-leash action at stream and dirt patch, you will invoke a reaction that calls for dog shampoo, car shampoo and people shampoo.
However, should the freshly shampooed owner of a clean car and crated dog steam that artichoke tender and dip a petal in lemon tahini, the action can be completed so smoothly that it is met with a simple reaction: Yum.
Prep: 20 minutes. Cook: 25 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic
4 large, heavy globe artichokes
1 bay leaf
Whisk: Halve the lemon across its equator. Juice, saving spent halves. Pour tahini into a small bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Tahini will thicken dramatically. Whisk in cold water, a little at a time, until sauce is right for dipping.
Season: Mash 1 clove garlic and 1 teaspoon salt to a paste. Whisk into tahini sauce. Taste. Add more lemon, water or salt as needed.
Trim: Using a serrated knife, trim away the top third of one artichoke and all but 1/2-inch of its stem. Snap off any sad looking outer petals. Using scissors, trim the prickly points off all exposed petals. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
Steam: Settle artichokes, cut sides up, in a large pot. Pour in cold water to a depth of 1 inch. Add lemon halves, along with the remaining garlic, the bay leaf and about 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and let artichokes steam until tender (pierce with a knife tip near the base), 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve: Use tongs to lift out artichokes. Cool cut side down on a clean kitchen towel at least 10 minutes. Serve artichokes warm or cool, along with tahini sauce for dipping and a bowl for spent leaves.