Cooking baby artichokes for the first time
I'm cooking baby artichokes for the first time for Christmas and I found a recipe on epicurious, but I was wondering if anyone has any tips or suggestions.
One thing I've figured out from reading a few different recipes and recip reviews is that they could brown if I don't soak them in lemon water. Anything else I should know?
The main thing about baby artichokes is to be ruthless about peeling off outer leaves till you get to the tender, light green ones. It feels wasteful but those outer ones are tough and fibrous and can't be eaten so harden your heart. Then cut off the top part of the remaining leaves and trim off the discolored outer part of the base. Drop each one into lemon water when done trimming.
The recipe I make with them is always a hit and possesses the great virtue that it's better made the day ahead and it tastes better at room temp or barely warm than it does hot. For each package (usually about 9) of baby artichokes, squeeze the juice of a whole lemon into a bowl of water. Clean as outlined above, dropping into lemon water. Cut artichokes in half if you want. Put artichokes in a heavy pot (I use a Le Creuset but any non-flimsy pot is OK), pour in a cup of olive oil and enough of the lemon water to cover the artichokes, add 4 garlic cloves, sliced thickly, a bunch of fresh mint and half a bunch of fresh, flat-leaf parsley. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to a simmer, cover and simmer till tender when pierced with a fork (try after about 12 minutes, but the time varies depending on the artichokes and whether you have halved them). Cool off and serve at room temperature or barely warm. Holds well for a couple days in the fridge, just reheat slightly to take the chill off.
Artichokes Roman Style
12 small artichokes (or more. I use a package of them from Trader Joe's)
1 large lemon, quartered
1 large red onion cut in eighths (or two small red onions, cut in quarters)
2 heaping tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 tsp “Better Than Bullion,” dissolved in water)
1 generous dash of Bayou Magic or other Cajun/Creole seasoning powder mix
1⁄2 tsp Salt
ground pepper to taste
Remove all the outer leaves until you get to the yellow part. Cut off and discard the top 1/2 inch (not the root end – the other end). Trim stems until only the tender part remains. Slice artichokes in half top to bottom. Let sliced artichokes stand in a large bowl of cold water to which the juice and shells of the lemon have been added. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Arrange all ingredients (except lemon shells and the soaking water) in a deep saucepan. Bring to boil and quickly lower to a gentle simmer. Cover and Simmer for 20 minutes (no more). Serve hot, warm, or cold. This is a great side dish, or a fine appetizer. I put these in the fridge and then nibble on them occasionally right out of the fridge.
The only way I've prepared them is by peeling the stem and removing the tough outer leaves, then slicing pretty thin and sauteeing in olive oil - after about ten minutes I add some lemon juice, cover and cook on low for about five more minutes, or until tender. Really delicious - they get nice and crispy. I think it's from the last cookbook by the Silver Palate authors.