An Easy (and Satisfying!) Way to Cook the Mystifying Artichoke
We'll walk you through spring's must-try recipe
I’ll admit that when I was asked to develop artichoke recipes for Kitchen Stories a few years back, I was intimidated. I had always admired their beauty at the farmer’s market and enthusiastically participated in devouring them leaf by leaf when the opportunity presented itself—but prepping and cooking an artichoke in my own kitchen never crossed my mind. Wouldn’t it be more effort than it was worth?
Well, as it turns out, there’s much to be learned in the course of trying something new beyond whatever new thing you’re trying to learn (still with me?). In this case, it seems to be that we’re often more capable than we give ourselves credit for—and that artichokes are undoubtedly one of the simplest things you can prepare in your kitchen this spring. This recipe is proof.
What makes this recipe special
It’s amazing what a few simple ingredients from the pantry, a high roasting temperature, and a heavy-bottomed pot can do. Traditionally, Italian roasted artichokes (or carciofi arrostiti) were cooked in embers, but we’ve of course adapted the recipe for the home kitchen without sacrificing too much of the signature roasted, lightly charred flavors of the dish.
Bathed in olive oil, white wine, and spiced with chili flakes, dried oregano, and heaps of garlic, this recipe lets the artichoke shine in its simplicity, with the help of a few classically Italian flavors. Once the artichokes are prepped, you’ll simply need to whisk together the marinade, coat the artichokes, cover, and roast. The accompanying dipping sauce for the crisp yet tender leaves that results makes itself in the process. As the barefoot contessa Ina Garten would say, “How bad can that be?”
Tips for recipe success
The oven temperature for roasting this recipe is extremely high at 500°F/260°C. That means you’ll need to check in on the artichokes periodically to monitor how they are coming along, and that they aren’t getting too brown, especially once the lid comes off. Oven temperatures are often not 100% reliable between home kitchens, so keep in mind how yours usually runs and adjust the temperature accordingly.
With the high heat, it’s also important to use a heavy-bottomed pot in order to prevent burning. If you have one with a lid, even better—use the lid where the recipe otherwise calls for aluminum foil.
How to prep an artichoke
If you’re still a little weary about artichoke prep, check out our how to video below for a step-by-step process of how it’s done. Simply put, you’ll want to remove the outer leaves, trim and peel the stem, cut off the top third of the bud, and trim the top tips of the leaves, which contain thorns. Coat any cut edges in lemon juice or submerge the artichoke in lemon water to prevent browning while you finish the rest of your prep.
How to prepare artichokes
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That all sounds good, but how do I eat it?
The other question that trips many of us up is, how do I eat it? Well, it’s much easier and more straightforward than it seems. Once cooked, you can pluck off the leaves one by one and use your teeth to scrape out the tender meat inside of each one. The outer leaves are a bit tougher with less to give, while the inner leaves are much more tender and have more material to eat inside. All that being said, dipping the leaves in this recipe’s pan sauce can’t be beat.
How to Eat an Artichoke
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Once you pluck off all the leaves, you’ll want to avoid the very center of the flower head, which consists of prickly purple leaves and a fuzzy choke that shouldn’t be consumed (you can use a spoon to remove it easily). Just underneath it however, you’ll find the heart of the artichoke. For many, this is the prize—it’s incredibly tender and tasty, which makes all the effort getting to it entirely worth it.
Will you give artichokes a try, or do you already love preparing them at home? Let us know in the comments, or upload your recipe for all of us to try!
Published on May 31, 2020