I mentioned last week that I roasted baby artichokes at a recent dinner. I’d like to reinforce the suggestion that you try this and do my part to demystify. After reading the cookbook how-tos for years, baby artichokes still struck me as very difficult to prepare–and when it comes to cooking I like to keep it simple. Here’s the news flash: They are, in fact, quite easy to prepare and 100 percent worth it. Crispy, delicious, special, Spring!
Mise en place: cutting board, sharp knife, a bowl of cold water and the juice of one or two lemons. Reserve those lemon halves. You remove so many of the artichokes’ outer leaves, you don’t even need to wash them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop off as much of the stem of the baby artichokes as needed and start pulling leaves–you remove between 2/3 and 3/4 of them–until the leaves are faintly green. Cut in half lengthwise, rub with one of the lemon halves (to keep the artichokes from browning), and drop into the lemon water.
Once all of the artichokes are prepped and the oven is ready. Toss the artichokes with good olive oil, salt, and pepper and lay cut-side down in a roasting pan. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip–re-oil if they are looking too dry–back for another 10 minutes. And that’s it.
Great with any pasta dish–a fresh red sauce!–any eat dish–lamb chops!–any preferred beverage. Well actually, critics whine that it’s hard to pair wine with artichokes. Champagne, bourbon, and milk, of all things, complement artichokes deliciously.