Smallish artichokes - what to do?
I'm used to preparing big globe artichokes but I am curious about the small ones I've been seeing in the market. They come about 10 to a box and are a little smaller that a tennis ball. Do they have spiney chokes, if so they would be quite labor intensive to prep, no? Are they worth the effort?
They are a bunch of work but you can do it in front of the TV and it's not bad. Have a bowl of cold water with lemon juice ready. Ruthlessly peel off leaves until you are down to the bright pale green ones -- if you are timid and don't take off enough the outer ones will be tough and stringy. Slice off the very tip and the stem. if they are quite small, leave whole, if a bit larger slice in half from top to bottom, Chuck into the lemon water and repeat. When they are all ready, take them out of the lemon water and braise them till tender in a whole bunch of olive oil, a bit of water, juice of a couple of lemons, handfuls of fresh mint and parsley and about 6 cloves of garlic (I just smash roughly and remove the skin). They will be heaven. But the more olive oil and less water you use, they better they will be. (Sometimes I get cheap with my OO and always regret it.) So yes, a lot of work but truly yummy.
I saw a Barefoot Contessa show yesterday. She had a friend who prepared baby artichokes, fried in olive oil and herbs. I think they dipped them in a yogurt dip. He uses the leftover oil in vinaigrettes and for brushing on vegetables before grilling. He brushed the eggplant with it before grilling. I am linking the show's list of recipes in case you want to check out more than the artichokes. Everything looked good to me.
The very small ones are completely edibe to the core (no choke) once they have been cleaned of the few tougher outer leaves. Slice thinly and eat raw tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and freshly shaved Parmiggiano Regianno. Delicious.