roasted baby artichokes

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Dave and I have gotten into the habit of choosing a nice bottle of wine to open on Saturday, and then I plan a meal around it. The last two times, I’ve scheduled ambitious main dishes and starches, and then planned to get whatever vegetable looked good at the store that would be easy to cook while I focused on the rest of the meal.

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And then I’ve come home with artichokes, which are certainly not known for being low-maintenance. But now that I’ve cooked artichokes a few times, I’m not nearly as intimidated by them. I especially love roasting these baby artichokes, which is the easiest and definitely the best way I’ve ever prepared artichokes.

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A lot of fuss is made about prepping artichokes, but now that I’m familiar with the process, it isn’t so bad. And the baby artichokes are quite a bit easier, because the fuzzy inedible choke inside the artichoke isn’t developed. There are basically three steps. 1) Pop off the leaves that are mostly green. 2) Cut off the top of the leaves and the bottom of the stem. 3) Trim off the dark green remnants of the leaves near the top of the stem. It really only takes maybe a minute per artichoke.

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And then it’s just like roasting any other vegetable. I quartered the artichokes, seasoned them and sprinkled a bit of olive oil over them, then roasted them until they were browned and tender.

What I love about this method, besides how easy it is, is that there’s really nothing to taste except for the artichoke. It’s the most artichokey way that I’ve eaten artichokes. And they do have a great flavor on their own, with no need for marinades or gussied-up mayonnaise or whatever else. It’s the fanciest plain vegetable I’ve ever served.

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One year ago: Cheesecake Pops (these were a huge mess) and Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

Roasted Baby Artichokes

I’ve seen recipes that require the artichokes to be boiled or steamed before roasting. This may be necessary with large ‘chokes, but I had no problem with the little guys getting tender just from roasting.

This is probably very anti-foodie of me, but I just squirted a bunch of bottled lemon juice into a bowl of water to make acidulated water. I didn’t have lemons.   I considered skipping the acidulated water entirely, but the artichokes pretty much immediately started turning an unappetizing shade of brown.

3-4 servings

juice of one lemon
12 baby artichokes
1½ tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
pinch pepper
½ teaspoon lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Trim the artichokes: Put the lemon juice into a bowl with 2-3 quarts of water. Working with one artichoke at a time, pop off the outer leaves until you reach the inner yellowish leaves. Cut off the top ½-inch of the leaves and all but ½-inch of the stem. Trim away the darker green leaf remnants around the base of the stem. Quarter the artichoke and place in the bowl of water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

3. Put the oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Dry the artichokes, place them on the baking sheet with the oil and seasoning, and stir to coat with oil.

4. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and browned on the outside. (I usually just eat one to see if they’re done.) Remove the pan from the oven, drizzle the lemon juice over the artichokes, and serve.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the pictures and the advice about how baby artichokes are easier to deal with than the bigger ones. I will have to give this a try!

  2. I just saw baby artichokes at my food co-op… I will have to try this. I love roasted veggies but have never roasted artichokes. Gorgeous photos as always.

  3. I love baby artichokes! Aren’t they the cutest things ever? And so delicious. Great recipe & photos :)

  4. I love artichokes. Thanks for the tips and gorgeous pictures.

  5. Oh yum! Those look really tasty, Bridget!

  6. I have to try this sometime!

  7. So jealous. I love the lemony taste of chokes. Then again, I can always get them canned, but that’s no fun :(

  8. I’ve never had artichokes (apart from in spinach and artichoke dip). I’m kind of curious whether I’d like them. If I see baby artichokes in the store I’m picking them up!

  9. Oh yum. Thank you for the step by step pictures. I admit to being scared of prepping artichokes. Maybe I’ll try some this weekend.

  10. Bunnies4Buddha says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I’d love to also hear a review of the wine you picked.

  11. Yummmm. I *love* artichokes, but my husband isn’t a fan (this was almost cause for divorce). It never occurred to me to make a few little ones just for myself.

    Gorgeous photos, as always!

  12. I’ve never prepped artichokes either – you make it look so easy! Sounds like a fantastic side dish!

  13. Love your artichokes.

  14. bridget says:

    B4B – It was Ravenwood Zinfandel. It was great! It has a strong but not overbearing berry flavor. It’s a little sweet, but overall, well-balanced.

  15. Planning a meal *around* the wine sounds like a great idea to me!!

    I’ve always shied away form making the baby artichokes, but you make it look so easy here!

  16. I was just thinking that I would like to make artichokes at home, but was too afraid. This doesn’t look too difficult! I think I am going to attempt to make this for dinner tomorrow night! Thanks for all the beautiful posts… I’m going to add a link to your site on mine, hope that’s OK!

  17. My baby artichokes are roasting in the oven as we speak. Is there any use for outter thick leaves that are not used? It seems like such a waste when you see how much outter thick leaves are collected in the garbage. Can’t wait until my artichokes are done! Thanks!

  18. OK, I just tried one after 20 minutes of cooking and they are very good. It was a bit fribrous on the outside though. Is that how baby artichokes are….or I didn’t trim enough. I did trim until I reached the lighter green leaves, but somehow it was a bit fibrous. What are your thoughts?

  19. bridget says:

    D – If it’s only fibrous on the outside, I would guess that some of the tougher leaves were still on the artichoke. I didn’t notice that mine were fibrous at all, but I think I tended to err on the side of pulling off more leaves rather than less. Which, as you mentioned, leaves the problem of what to do with all of those leaves. Unfortunately, I have no good answer for you. There’s always compost of course, if that’s an option for you. Could they be used to make vegetable stock, I wonder?

  20. Hi and thanks for your resopnse. I figured it out why my arthichokes were a bit fibrous on the outside. I did remove enough of the tougher leaves, but I didn’t trim enough from the tip. I was watching a video on how to trim artichokes and a lot of the tip was discarded, which I was trying to conserve and just trim off very little of the tips just enough to even off the tip. When I trim more of the tiip away from my already roasted batch, what a noticable difference. So for anyone who needs to watch a video on how to trim baby artichokes, this is a good one to watch:
    http://localfoods.about.com/od/preparationtips/ss/TrimBabyArts_7.htm
    I am going to buy more baby arthicokes and try roasting them again. It is very good! Thanks again!

  21. OK, sorry to be a pest. It’s not a video, it’s a slide show, but still helpful.

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