Roasted Artichokes

 

This recipe takes 5 minutes to prep, an hour to cook (go watch TV!), and then about another 30 minutes to slowly eat with your friends.

A good friend sent me a link of a simple recipe easily searchable online, but I’m going to walk you through it anyway.

I didn’t know from before, but artichokes are like pomegranates. So much work and oh so good. I am completely intrigued by the unnecessary complexity of this plant.

Collect the following:

artichokes

fresh lemon

garlic (just a few cloves)

aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 425.

Artichokes are these weird looking blossom-like vegetables. I got youngish ones, which I guess cook faster in about 45-60 minutes instead of the oldish ones that take 60-80 minutes.

By the time these arrive in my plate, they are usually broken down beyond recognition, so let’s make sure we go step by step.

Photo Mar 01, 9 08 05 AMYou chop the top off – about 1 inch in, so that it’s shaped like one of those bowl-like water glasses. Then you cut off the stem to make it flat so you can stand it upright in the oven.

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Then you get some small pieces of garlic.

For 4 of these little artichokes, I used 1/3 of a lemon.

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These are pretty much all the fresh ingredients. Easy, right?

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You use your fingers to open the leaves a little, and then you squeeze some lemon on top, and then drizzle some olive oil. I used about 1 teaspoon of olive oil per artichoke.

You can then season with salt and pepper, but I didn’t need any, so I didn’t use any.

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Then shove a piece of garlic into the middle. It doesn’t matter if the center of your artichoke is purple or not (in case you were wondering)

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Then wrap them up TIGHTLY and put them in a pan to bake in the 425 degree oven. It’s okay if the oven is not fully preheated yet.

I put them in a pan because unlike the link above, I used only one layer of aluminum foil. So if there was a tear, I would get artichoke juice all over my oven. But having 2 layers doesn’t really prevent a tear either. It just increases that probability that the casing is air tight, and that the artichokes stay moist while they cook.

I do recommend heavy duty aluminum foil, because the leaves of the artichoke are delicate, and a small opening will dry out the vegetable.

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I fished them out 50 minutes later, and this is what they looked like. The liquids in the packet were sizzling.

The garlic is roasted and sweet. So delicious if you like garlic.

To eat the artichoke, first you eat the leaves/petals.

You peel this layer by layer and scrape your teeth along the bottom inside of the petal, where there is a puffy part. As you get farther into the center, you’ll notice that more and more of the petal will be soft and edible. Sometimes almost entire petals are edible and you don’t have to scrape, you can just bite.

Eventually you get to this little white tent of white spiky young leaves that is shaped like troll hair. They are fibrous usually, and you can throw them away. If they’re soft then you can eat them! That seems to bet the rule here: fibrous = toss, soft = eat

Then you get to this thing:

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It looks like the mouth of a Dune sandworm.

But just like a Dune sandworm, it hides great things. No you won’t eventually find spice, but you will find artichoke heart.

You use your nails or a spoon to scrape up the “teeth”, and you end up with the precious artichoke heart underneath. It’ll be all bumpy like a textured bowl.

Eat that.

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You can see the texture of the artichoke heart on the back of my sand worm teeth.

The heart will only be a thin delicate layer, but it will have the most concentrated flavor. It will have also collected some juices from both above and below since it’s so close to the base of the artichoke.

Check out the carnage at the end.

So obviously don’t serve this if your friends are slobs or you’re trying to have this with $300 wine. But it’s a great snack for people who just want to sit around a table and chat… and aren’t slobs.

Happy Artichoke eating!

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