Dijon Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1 1/2 pounds cooked blue crab meat, lump crab meat, or Dungeness crab meat*
Juice from 3 medium-size lemons, divided
3 quarts cold water, divided
6 large artichokes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 strips red bell pepper, diced, for garnish
* If you can not get fresh crab, look for the pasteurized crab usually sold in the refrigerated case of your supermarket or fish store.
Prepare Dijon Vinaigrette and set aside until ready to use. If using fresh (not canned) crab meat, carefully clean the crab meat of any shells or cartilage; set aside.
How To Prepare Artichoke Hearts:
Into a large bowl, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into 1 quart of the water. As you prepare and cut your artichokes, dip into the lemon/water to prevent discoloring (oxidizing).
Using a sharp knife, cut the stems off of the artichokes even with the bottoms. Pull off and discard all leaves.
Using a small pairing knife, trim the remaining dark green surfaces at the base of the artichoke, including the stalk.
The choke (hairy fibers in the center of the artichoke) need to be removed. Using a melon baller or a spoon, remove and discard the choke. Trim the bottoms and put the trimmed artichoke hearts in the lemon water.
Into a large pot, squeeze the juice from the remaining two 2 lemons into the remaining 2 quarts cold water. Bring the liquid just to the boil; add the artichoke bottoms. Reduce the heat to low and simmer artichoke hearts approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until the point of a knife penetrates them easily. Remove from pan and let cool.
Place each artichoke bottom on an individual serving plate. Spoon 1 tablespoon Dijon Vinaigrette into each artichoke bottom and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon chives. Divide the crab meat into six (6) equal portions and mound it onto the artichoke bottoms, drizzling with additional Dijon Vinaigrette. Sprinkle each with another 1/2 teaspoon chives and a few pieces of red bell pepper. Pass any remaining vinaigrette separately.
Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch coarse salt and freshly-ground white pepper
1/2 cup walnut oil
Process the wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper with the metal blade of a food processor, about 5 seconds. With the motor running, pour the walnut oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process until mixed, about 5 seconds; set aside until ready to use.