Springtime means artichokes! I happen to love them, and they’re super good for you when not soaked in butter or sauce. Here is a way to prepare them in which they are perfectly delicious alone – no need for melted butter, dipping sauce, stuffing, or hiding them in a rich dip with spinach and mayonnaise! (Although that is a nice treat, too.) Artichokes are full of fiber – 7g per artichoke – and they are also rich in Vitamin C and magnesium. Thanks to the folks at America’s Test Kitchen for this technique! I had previously only had steamed or boiled artichokes, but roasting is my new favorite thing.
This recipe is adapted from a newly published cookbook: The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well with 700 Foolproof Recipes, by America’s Test Kitchen. I highly recommend this book if you like vegetarian cooking – I want to make everything in it! The main adjustment I made to the recipe is NOT soaking the cut halves of the artichokes in acidulated water to keep them from turning brown. You might want to do this if you are preparing more than two artichokes, but if you’re only doing two, they don’t really have time to turn brown before you rub them with olive oil.
As far as artichoke-eating technique goes, if you’ve never tried it before, you don’t actually eat the whole leaf – you sort of scrape off the edible base of each leaf with your teeth. Here is a good explanation – except if you’ve prepared this recipe, they are even easier to eat, because you don’t have to dip it in anything (you’ve already olive-oiled and seasoned it), or scoop away the artichoke heart (you already removed it). So once you’ve eaten the leafy part, you can just eat the artichoke base and stem. In fact, that is my favorite part. Onwards, Radishers! Let’s make some artichokes!
- 2 artichokes
- Olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Get ready: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 475 F. Grease a small casserole dish well with olive oil.
- Prep the artichokes: Wash artichokes, then strip off any small, hard leaves from the first couple of layers. Trim the stems down to about 1" long. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the top ¼ of the artichoke completely off. If you like, use a pair of kitchen shears to trim each leaf's sharp point off (this is optional, but makes eating them more pleasant).
- De-choke the artichokes: Cut one artichoke in half lengthwise (top to bottom), then use a small paring knife to cut just along the base of the choke (fluffy part in the middle). Don't cut all the way through - just ¼" in or so, enough to loosen the choke. Scrape the fluffy choke and small purple-tipped leaves out using a teaspoon (I like to use a grapefruit spoon with serrated teeth). Repeat with the other half.
- Season 'em: Place the two halves of the artichoke you're working with cut side up in your prepared casserole. Drizzle each half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Now, using your hands, work the olive oil, salt, and pepper in between the leaves so the whole artichoke half is oiled and seasoned. Place cut side down in the casserole, and repeat with the other half. Now repeat de-choking and seasoning with the second artichoke. When you're done, you will have four artichoke halves cut-side-down in your casserole.
- Roast 'em: Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil, and roast for 25-30 minutes, until cut sides start to brown and both the stems and the leaves are tender. To serve, place each one in a bowl, and provide an empty bowl to hold discarded leaves. Squeeze a lemon over them if you like. Enjoy!