I never envisioned this blog as a place for how-tos, but I’m liking these simple posts. Photographed step-by-steps of kitchen basics. This might turn into a series.
I’ve shot a few of these posts so far. While I imagined them as a way to share my kitchen knowledge, I’ve actually learned a few new tricks myself. Take this post on artichokes, for example. I had never roasted them before testing out this recipe for the blog.
It has been years since I had an artichoke— three, maybe four years. My parents used to steam them for family dinners every once in a while, but artichokes mostly looked intimidating to me. Sharp, spiky, messy to eat, and how on earth are you supposed to cook them without turning them mushy? The flavor of an artichoke is incredible, but hardly ever seemed with the work.
I’ve eaten steamed artichokes my whole life, which are easy enough to make. But I was recently told that grilled artichokes are the gold standard. I don’t own a grill, and I still haven’t had an artichoke with that special charcoal smokiness. But what I do have is a very hot oven.
I bought a bunch of artichokes and opted to roast them, concentrating their flavor and adding just a touch of caramelization.
Artichokes come in all sizes, and I like the big ones. I find that they’re a lot easier to eat. They’re also perfectly in season, and you’ll be able to pick up the very best right now.
Let’s get to roasting!
Start by rinsing your artichoke. Hold the base firmly, and cut of the top half inch with a sharp knife.
Slice off the stem, too.
Now, place the artichoke on it’s base, and make sure it can stand upright without support. If not, double check to make sure all of the stem has been sliced off. Cut off more and level if necessary.
Using a pair of scissors, cut off the tips of all of the visible petals. These petals have thorns, and you’ll want to avoid them when eating.
Until you have this.
Gently fan out the petals with your hands, and place a peeled, gently crushed clove of garlic in the middle.
Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Using your hands, rub the olive oil all over the outside of the artichoke, and on the cut ends of the petals.
Wrap the artichoke in a large piece of foil.
Try to fold the top edges of the foil securely over the artichoke. Avoid leaving any openings or slits in the foil— these “steam vents” will dry your artichoke out during the long roasting period, making it tough to eat.
Place the wrapped artichoke on a baking sheet or dish for stability.
Roast at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour.
Carefully unwrap the artichokes, and serve plain or with melted butter.
And if you’re wondering how to eat this crazy vegetable, it’s easy. Pull off the petals one by one, and dip them in melted butter, olive oil, or lemon juice. Hold the petal by its pointy tip, and scrape the soft inner side against your bottom teeth. (Sounds gross, but I promise it isn’t.)
When you finish all the big petals, you’ll get to the center.
This is where the heart of the artichoke is— it’s the meat of the vegetable, dense and slightly sweet. But you won’t want to eat it like this, because it’s surrounded by sharp, prickly fibers.
To get to the artichoke heart, pull off the tiny white-purple petals until you see a circle of dense fibers, like this:
Using a spoon, gently scrape off the fibers, leaving the meaty inner section of the artichoke intact.
And you’ll end up with this, a tender artichoke heart.
These vegetables are gorgeous, and I hope you’ll make them this spring!