28 March, 2018
Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables, and I wish I could eat them every day. They’re a fun finger food, less work than crab legs, and surprisingly filling. Another bit of good news is that, if you’ve never roasted artichokes at home, it’s not a terribly difficult recipe, though it does take a little while to cook. You can make them in the slow cooker without the foil. Just prep them as directed here, place them in a crock pot, add about an inch of water to the bottom, and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. While I haven’t personally tried the crock pot method, it shouldn’t be too different from making them in the oven; whatever fits your schedule best.
If you’ve never eaten whole artichokes before, never fear — I’ve included some instructions at the bottom of the recipe. The main things to note are 1) don’t try to eat the whole petals (you scrape the meat off with your teeth), and 2) don’t eat the spiky part. It looks inedible for a reason. Also, if you didn’t know, artichokes are flowers! If you grow them in your yard and let them bloom, you’ll get big purple flowers that resemble a large thistle. The spiky choke atop the heart of the artichoke (the part I repeatedly assert that you not eat) is what would eventually develop into the flower. Another cool fact about artichokes is that they’re part of the aster family (Asteraceae). Other member of this family include dandelions, broccoli, lettuce, kohlrabi, and sunflowers. All of these plants share similar traits and were cultivated or developed over centuries, either to favor certain characteristics (terminal buds for cabbages, flowers for broccoli, roots for kohlrabi) or to better suit their environments. Woohoo, evolutionary biology! Anyway, I’m sure most of you are less interested in that and more interested in the recipe. On we go!
2 tbsp Olive oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Juice from a small lemon
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the stems and the top 1-2 inches off of the artichokes. Cut two squares of aluminum foil large enough to completely cover the flowers and brush a 1-2 inch square of olive oil onto the center. Place the cut artichokes onto the olive oil and spread the leaves out with your fingers. Brush the remaining olive oil over the tops of the two artichokes, doing your best to get between the leaves. Divide the minced garlic evenly between the two flowers and, using a spoon, stuff the garlic among the leaves. Sprinkle the two artichokes with salt and pepper and finish by drizzling lemon juice over the two flowers. Wrap the foil around the artichokes so that it covers them completely and place them on a lipped cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 60-90 minutes.
If you’ve never eaten artichoke before, here’s how:
Work your way from the outside of the artichoke to the center by plucking off individual leaves and, while holding the tip of the leaf, scrape the meat off of the inside face of the leaf with your teeth (bottom front teeth are easiest), pulling from the tip to the bottom. Do this until you reach the center of the artichoke. Scrape or cut off the spiny, inedible top of the center, called the choke (for hopefully obvious reasons — please don’t eat it), and enjoy the tender heart that lies beneath. Now you know how to eat an artichoke! Safely!