Sauteed Baby Artichokes

For years I’ve walked by those packages of baby artichokes at Trader Joe’s not willing to try them because they just didn’t seem worth the effort. I’m glad to report that I was completely wrong. They actually take less time to prepare than regular artichokes because they cook up in only a few minutes versus 40 minutes for globe artichokes.

Even though they are called “baby artichokes,” they aren’t actually immature artichokes, but simply a different variety that reaches maturity at a much smaller size than regular artichokes. Unlike larger artichokes, more parts of these small ones are edible. You don’t have to scoop out the choke, you can eat it with the rest of the heart and tender leaves.

You can also simmer the discarded leaves in water for an hour to make an artichoke vegetable stock for soup, so nothing goes to waste. Artichokes pair well with something acidic, such as lemon or balsamic vinegar, and something creamy, such as mayonnaise or Parmesan cheese. These sautéed baby artichokes are easy to prepare and combine flavors that work naturally well with artichokes. They can be eaten alone, or mixed in with pasta or risotto, or baked on to pizza.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds baby artichokes
  • Bowl of water with 3 cups of water and juice from 2 fresh lemons (about 3 Tbsp) or equivalent amount of vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green onions (scallions), chopped, including the green ends
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch of Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 to 1/2 cup to taste)

Method

1 Rinse the baby artichokes. Set out a bowl with 3 cups of ice-cold water; add the fresh squeezed juice from 2 lemons (about 3 Tbsp of lemon juice) or vinegar. Working on the artichokes one by one, cut off the stem to 1/4-inch from the base; peel back and remove the petals until only the top third of the cone tip is pale green green. Cut off the pale green tips. Trim off any remaining green from base of artichoke. Halve or quarter the artichokes, depending on their size and drop in the bowl of acidified water (to prevent discoloration).

2 Drain artichokes. In a large skillet, heat the artichokes and 1 cup of water to boiling. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. Drain well.

3 Using the same skillet, heat to medium high and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes, onions, garlic, and herbes de Provence. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle on 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper. Put in serving bowl, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

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