If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.
Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.
Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.
Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can leave the whole long stem on the artichoke, just cut off the very end of the stem, and peel the tough outside layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.
Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.
In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.
Instructions for Saffron-Orange Hollandaise
For the sauce I like to use the blender method, which results in a slightly thinner Hollandaise. If you want a thicker sauce, use a traditional double boiler method. If you are afraid of consuming undercooked egg yolks, buy eggs pasteurized in their shells. The orange juice gives a mild sweetness to the sauce that really compliments the saffron, and a little of this goes a long way for dipping. You could cut this recipe in half for a smaller batch.
In a blender, mix the orange juice, salt, saffron, and egg yolks on high speed until well blended. Remove the middle section of the blender cap and stream in the hot butter while the blender is running. Let it run until the mixture is smooth and slightly frothy. Serve immediately. If you need to reheat this sauce, place it in a bowl over a larger bowl of very hot water, and stir until it is warmed through.
Serve this as an appetizer or as a complete meal–you can stuff the cooked artichokes with seasoned quinoa before drizzling on the sauce, and it makes a great light meal.