Every action provokes an opposite and equally aggravating reaction. This is the third law of motion, more or less, and because it is the law, you must obey.
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
1 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.