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.
Sauteed Baby Artichokes
- 2 pounds baby artichokes
- 4 cups of water, divided 3 cups and 1 cup
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons) divided
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced, including the green ends
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pinch of Herbes de Provence
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, or to taste
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
Prep the artichokes:
Rinse the baby artichokes. Fill a bowl with 3 cups of water and add 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice to it.
Cut off the stem of each artichoke 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. 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 them into the bowl of acidified water (to prevent discoloration).
Steam the artichokes:
Drain artichokes in a colander. In a large skillet, bring one cup of the water to a boil. Add the artichokes, cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. Drain well.
Sauté the artichokes:
Wipe out the skillet to remove excess water. Heat to medium high and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes, onions, garlic, and herbes de Provence. Cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and parsley on top.