But don’t be fooled by the name “baby artichoke” as they’re not “baby” or “immature” artichoke at all. An artichoke plant will sprout several regular sized artichokes near the top of the plant and much smaller ones near the bottom of the plant, which are labeled as “baby artichokes.” Clever marketing, eh? The smaller artichokes have the same flavor the big boys, but have no prickly hairs in the center, so they’re much easier to prepare.
This week’s Spring Fling with my friends is all about celebrating artichokes!
- Roberto at Food2: The Art of the Artichoke
- Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Artichoke Recipe Roundup
- Kirsten at FN Dish: Artichokes for Beginners
- Diane and Todd at White On Rice Couple: Grilled Artichoke Stems
- Gaby at What’s Gaby Cooking: Baby Artichokes
- Roberto at Cooking Channel: Artichoke Appetizers
- Dana at Food Network Healthy Eats: All About Artichokes
How to Prep Baby Artichokes
The baby artichokes are a little larger than the size of a golf ball (try not to buy any larger than that) and they’re very easy to prepare. The first step is to cut off the top portion of the artichoke.
Now peel and snap off the first two layers of leaves until you reach pale, smooth leaves.
Just like this:
The entire tender center is edible. Slice them just like this:
Oh, about 1/4″ thick:
Let the slices soak in lemony water so that they don’t discolor.
When I’m ready to cook, I like to put all of the artichokes into a salad spinner to dry them completely.
Heat a large saute pan (or wok!) with olive oil and saute the artichokes for a few minutes.
Then add the garlic slices (if you had added garlic first, they would have burned)
Give ’em a good toss until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Throw in some chopped fresh tomatoes.
Season with salt, pepper.
Squeeze in lemon juice.
Pour in wine and broth.
Cover and let the artichokes cook through on medium heat.
Finish it off with some fresh parsley.
Serve while hot!
Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Tomatoes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Choose baby artichokes that are a little bigger than a golf ball but no larger than that (or you'll have to deal with prickly centers). The smaller the artichoke, the more tender. Choose artichokes that are bright green with as few dark spots as possible .
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1-2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or other fresh herb like basil)
1. Fill a large bowl with cool water, Take just one of the lemon halves (you'll cook with the other half) and squeeze the juice into the water. Go ahead and throw in the spent lemon into the water too.
2. Prepare the artichokes by cutting off and discarding the top 1/2" of the artichoke. Peel away the first couple of dark green layers of the artichoke leaves until you reach pale, smooth, light green leaves. Slice the artichoke into 1/4" slices. Place slices into the lemon-water. Repeat with remaining artichokes. You can do this step ahead of time and refrigerate until ready.
3. Just before you're ready to cook, place the artichokes into a salad spinner and remove all of the water (or you could pat very dry with towels.)
4. Heat a large saute pan (I prefer a wok) over medium-high heat. Swirl in the olive oil. When hot, add the artichoke slices. Try not to overlap the slices - spread them out all over the pan. You may want to cook this in two batches if your pan isn't large enough. Cook for 2 minutes and them toss to flip. The artichokes should be nicely browned.
If you're cooking in two batches, go ahead and dish out the cooked artichoke and brown the second batch. When second batch is done, add the first batch back in the pan.
5. Add in the garlic slices and saute until fragrant, tossing frequently. Add in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Give it another good toss. Pour in the wine, broth and squeeze in the juice of the remaining lemon half.
6. Bring to simmer, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Give it a taste - adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Is the artichoke tender? If not, cover and cook for another minute. Finish with fresh parsley.