Trimming and prepping artichokes used to mystify me; I was so afraid of them! Until a few years ago, the only way I prepared them was to cut the bottom off so they sat level in a microwave-safe dish and then microwaved them in water for approximately 15 minutes. It was faster than steaming or boiling. I know…..pretty unimaginative for someone who cooks for a living!
Then, a client of mine requested I prepare them for her. Gulp. Oh sure….I could have just boiled or steamed them, but that didn’t seem very “cheffy” and the presentation would have been lackluster at best. I didn’t know how they’d reheat prepared that way or if they’d even have any of their delicate flavor left. My client would have also had to deal with the inedible “choke” in the center.
To make her artichoke “experience” as easy as possible, I made these beautifully trimmed and amazingly aromatic Roasted Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Butter that are roasted with lemon slices, garlic and herb sprigs. What I love about roasting or baking artichokes is the delicate flavor concentrates and stays IN the artichoke–it’s not boiled or steamed away. The other wonderful thing about preparing artichokes this way is that your guests don’t have to deal with the fuzzy choke either.
When working with artichokes, you’ll need to have some acidulated water ready to prevent browning. For each quart of water, use about three tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 large, super juicy lemon) or 1/2 cup dry white wine. After each trimming step, place the cut side into the acidulated water. Another option is to simply rub the cut side with lemon.
My experience has been that artichokes turn slightly brown no matter what–much like an avocado. However, because the artichokes in this recipe get nicely browned from the roasting process, it’s okay if they discolor slightly.
For more information on prepping artichokes, here’s an instructional video from Ocean Mist.
When the artichokes are tender, take the garlic out and make a roasted garlic butter to serve with the artichokes. Perfection!
2 large globe artichokes
3 large lemons, 2 juiced, 1 sliced to yield 4 slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 whole cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 stick salted butter, very soft
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a bowl large enough to accommodate the artichokes when halved with water (about 2 quarts). Add the lemon juice (I also toss in the lemon pieces.)
As you complete each of the following steps, immediately immerse the artichoke in the lemon (acidulated) water.
--Trim any dry stem end from the bottom of the artichoke.
--Remove tough outer leaves from the bottom of the artichoke.
--Trim approximately 1 inch from the top of each artichoke.
--Trim the tips of each leaf. (Be careful! They can have sharp barbs.)
--Cut the artichoke in half from top to bottom.
--Scoop the fuzzy choke from the center of each artichoke.
Drizzle a large baking dish or roasting pan with olive oil. Season artichokes with salt and black pepper. Place 3 cloves of garlic in each artichoke, top each with a sprig of thyme and rosemary, then place a lemon slice on each. Carefully flip the artichoke half over so that the cut side is facing down. (Make sure the garlic is securely inside so that it doesn't burn.) Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover with foil. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender. (Test doneness by gently pulling on one of the leaves or
Place the softened butter in a small saucepan. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan and add to the butter. Mash it into the butter, then gently melt the butter.
Serve the artichokes with the butter.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Roast until the artichokes are almost tender (about 40 minutes). Cool and refrigerate. Mash the garlic into the softened butter and refrigerate. Heat covered in a 375 degree oven until tender. Melt butter and serve.