Sarah clued us in on the wonders of the artichoke, and since the season’s first spiny lovelies are just appearing in the market, here’s a simple, streamlined recipe to inspire you.
Artichokes make a great appetizer or side dish. These accompanied sautéed petrale sole and roasted potatoes. The roasted artichokes make a great base for risotto, pasta, or pizza, as well.
This recipe calls for small or medium artichokes, not the giant globe kind. These smaller artichokes are easier to prepare, as the choke is not fully developed. When trimming artichokes, it may seem wasteful to take so many of the outer leaves off, but you really can’t eat them, so compost them! This recipe easily expands to serve more people. Green garlic is simply young garlic, picked before the cloves are fully developed. It’s a special, short season treat and it has a milder flavor than mature garlic. Like artichokes it is a harbinger of spring so the two make a great pair. You will need two lemons total. If Meyer lemons are available, use those, as they are perfect for this recipe. And of course, use organic ingredients from your local farmers’ market whenever you can. And for all you anchovy haters (or vegetarians) out there, yes, you can leave out the anchovies if you must but they do add a special something.
Roasted Artichokes with Lemon Anchovy Caper Vinaigrette
2 medium or 8 baby artichokes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 – 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped green garlic (use regular garlic if green garlic is not in season, but use only 1-2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 heaping half teaspoon capers, finely chopped
1 anchovy filet, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Ready a bowl large enough to accommodate the artichokes and fill it with water. Squeeze the lemon into the water, reserving the rind. Cut off the bottom 1/2 inch of the artichoke stems and discard. Cut off the top 1/2 inch of the artichokes.
As you work, rub the artichokes with the lemon flesh still clinging to the reserved rind. Working from the bottom up, bend back the outer leaves until they snap off close to base, discarding them as you go, until you reach the tender, light yellow-green leaves. Continue to rub with lemon occasionally.
With a paring knife, trim the dark green outer layer from the base and stem. Halve the artichokes lengthwise if using babies, and quarter if using medium artichokes. If the choke is furry, scoop it out with a spoon. It might not have developed yet. Drop the artichokes into lemon water as you work.
When all the artichokes are prepped, drain them, pat them dry and toss them with the olive oil, the sliced garlic, and salt to taste. Transfer them to a roasting pan or baking sheet and roast in a single layer for 15-20 minutes (for baby artichokes) or 30-40 minutes (for medium artichokes), or until they are tender and beginning to brown.
Whisk together the lemon juice, green or regular garlic, shallot, capers, anchovies, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the artichokes warm or room temperature drizzled with the vinaigrette.
Recipe Copyright 2009 Vanessa Barrington
Note: use organic, local ingredients whenever possible.