Have you seen them yet? Plump and silvery green with prickly scales and furry centers; they’re in season right now. Big, beautiful springtime artichokes are here.
I’ve certainly eaten my fair share of artichokes over the years and I savor every delicious moment they are in season during the spring months and again for a shorter time in the fall.
Don’t let yourself be intimidated, although they may be a bit tricky to prepare, they are well worth the effort. Once you’ve tamed their prickly thorns and fuzzy chokes this edible bulb offers a delicate taste, sweet and mellow that can’t be matched.
Eating an artichoke is a hands-on experience. Peeling back each delicate petal with your fingers and dragging it gently between your teeth to remove the soft fleshy bit forces you to slow down and appreciate every delicious bite, until you finally reach the best part: the tender heart.
My usual preparation is generally to steam them whole and enjoy them with a vinaigrette, but when I want to dress them up, I head for the oven.
No exotic ingredients, unusual spices or complicated cooking methods, just a gentle braise that results in an ambrosial fragrance that will invade your kitchen.
After stripping off the tough outer leaves, snipping off the thorns, and removing the inner choke, I toss the artichokes in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil and white wine flavored with garlic and thyme and seasoned with sea salt and ground pepper. The garlic and thyme gently infuse the braising liquid with a subtle, elusive flavor.
Serve them either warm or chilled with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a shower of fresh parsley, linger and enjoy.
Serves Serves 4 to 6
Gently braised artichokes in a garlic and thyme infused marinade.
20 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
- ¼ cup/60ml extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup/60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Peel from one of the lemons
- ¼ cup/60ml good quality white wine or water
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 small garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 4 large artichokes
- 2 Tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a large roasting pan, combine all the ingredients except the artichokes.
- Pull off and discard the thick outer leaves of the artichokes by bending them back and pulling them down toward the stem (Remove leaves that are dark green, but do not remove leaves that are green at the top and yellow on the bottom).
- Snip off the tops of the leaves (at the point where the green and yellow come together) and trim around the base of the artichoke heart to smooth the sides and peel the stem.
- Cut in half and scoop out the fuzzy choke with a small spoon. As each artichoke heart half is completed, add to the pan with the braising liquid, turning them to coat completely and prevent browning.
- Cover the pan with a lid or parchment lined aluminum foil and cook until the hearts are tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, uncover, and let the artichokes cool in the braising liquid.
- Garnish with a chopped parsley, serve warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled.
How do you like to eat artichokes?