We looooove artichokes, and with a bit of prep work, they're a snap to make. Elise at Simply Recipes does a perfect job of explaining, step by step, how to properly trim and cook an artichoke. My suggestion is for a fabulous dipping sauce, and all credit must be given to my equally fabulous friend Brian for this one; every recipe I've ever stolen from him is to die for. To make Brian's famed dipping sauce (enough for about 4 artichokes), mix 2 finely-minced garlic cloves with a half-cup of mayonnaise and about 3 tablespoons of red wine. Add a bit of salt and pepper and adjust the wine and seasonings to taste. The resulting sauce is a gorgeous purple color thanks to the wine, and has just the right amount of bite from the raw garlic (just don't plan on doing any smoochin' after this dinner). This takes minutes to whip up, but tastes gourmet, and makes a stunning presentation with the violet-hued sauce next to the bright green steamed 'chokes. An instant classic. Love ya, Bri.
Finally, arugula. As I've mentioned before, our local pizza joint makes the most incredible prosciutto, balsamic fig jam, Great Hill Blue Cheese and fresh arugula pizza, but if that sounds too fussy for your weeknight, why not try a pared down version? Buy a pizza dough. Pre-heat your oven to 450. Roll out your dough, brush it with olive oil, layer on your favorite cheese (a soft gouda could be particularly dreamy) and bake for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the arugula with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add it to the top and bake for another 10 minutes. For extra points, you could add chopped prosciutto and/or chopped fresh tomatoes or carmelized onions when you add the arugula. Pop open a bottle of red, and enjoy.
What's your favorite spring recipe?