The first time I was ever faced with consuming a whole artichoke, I ate the wrong end.
I know. Let me explain.
I was about 16 years old and over at my best friend’s house. Her parents were out of town so we thought we’d cook ourselves a nice dinner before, I don’t know, hitting up Tropical Sno, or calling boys, or doing whatever it was that 16-year-old girls do.
I walked in just as she was dropping a couple of trimmed artichokes into a big pot of boiling water with lemon halves bobbing in it. I was…impressed! My best friend, whom I’d known for nearly forever, cooks artichokes? How did I not know this? I don’t think I’d even seen a whole artichoke in my life at that point, let alone cooked one.
30 minutes later she pulled the steaming artichokes out of the boiling water and drained ‘em, then we sat down to dine with a big bowl of butter each, and a couple of steaks we’d cooked up in the meantime.
You’ve eaten artichokes before, haven’t you? She asked while digging into hers, peeling off one of the tender outer leaves.
Oh totally! I lied, watching her every move to see what she’d do next. I had absolutely no clue what to do with the spiny, monstrous-looking thing in front of me.
She dipped the leaf into the bowl of butter, scraped it with her teeth, then placed it on the side of her plate and continued peeling, dipping, and scraping.
Ok, weird, I thought, but decided to give it a try.
I slowly peeled one of the leaves away, dipped the spiny end into the hot, melty butter, then proceeded to prick my tongue on it as I put it into my mouth.
I DON’T GET IT! I wanted to shout. What’s the allure here? What are these things good for? Transferring butter to butt?
Upon closer inspection of my friend’s ever-growing leaf pile, I noticed she was scraping the fat end of the artichoke leaf with her teeth, NOT the spiny end. The fat end, I discovered, had a deposit of thick, creamy artichoke meat that absolutely melted in my mouth when dipped in butter and scraped off. Absolutely delish.
That, admittedly, was the last time I had a fresh artichoke. HA! The first and last, until I saw a instagram photo my brother posted last week of an amazing looking dinner his girlfriend made for the two of them that included a roasted artichoke. (Lucky guy, huh?!)
It looked so mouthwatering that I had to recreate (and redeem my 16 year old self!) so I got the recipe from her and voila – Roasted Artichokes with Lemon & Garlic! (Please excuse the dull-looking photos, btw. The sun disappeared around 3:30pm today. Thanks, daylight savings time.)
Tender roast artichokes dripping with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and delicately flavored with a hint of roast garlic, which is stuffed into the center. This was easy, elegant, and an awesome side dish to the Chicken, Pesto & Fresh Mozzarella Pizza Ben made us for dinner tonight!
Start with a couple of fresh artichokes. Look for big fat ones with with tightly packed leaves.
Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the top 1/3 off the artichoke as well as the stem then, using a small paring knife, hollow out the center to hold some garlic!
Spread the leaves out as much as you can, then drizzle the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over the artichoke, letting it drip down between the layers.
Season liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff the center of the artichoke with 3-4 garlic cloves. The garlic will roast with the artichoke and permeate each bite with a roasted garlic flavah. YUM!
Seal the artichokes up tightly with a large sheet of foil, then roast for 50-70 minutes at 425 degrees until they’re very tender.
Unwrap, then peel, and eat (the garlic cloves too!)
Roasted Artichokes with Lemon & Garlic
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
6 garlic cloves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the bottom stem and top 1/3 off artichoke with a sharp, serrated knife then use a small paring knife to hollow out and discard inner, center leaves. Spread artichoke leaves out as much as you can then drizzle with half a lemon and 1 Tablespoon olive oil each. Season liberally with salt and pepper then stuff 3 garlic cloves in the hollowed out center. Wrap tightly in a large sheet of foil then roast for 50-70 minutes or until very tender.
The closer you get to the center of the artichoke, the more meat will be on the leaves, and the more tender they’ll be too. When you get to the center, pop the dome looking part, which contains the fluffy, inedible “choke” of the artichoke, off the bottom and eat the bottom. It’s the best part!
In other news, it was a postcard day ’round these parts.
Cloudy, cold and perfect for the roaring fire Ben built after our weekly grocery store run, that he’s been tending to all day.
It was all fun and games until Ben thought the rug in front of the fireplace was on fire so I dumped our emergency cup of water on it, completely soaking the entire thing in the process, only to find out that the “spark” was a piece of shiny red plastic. Good times.
PS am I the only one that thinks freezing our buns off in February would be so much more tolerable if we had pretty holiday decorations to look at all winter long? The holidays come and go too quickly!
Just a thought.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend, and an even better week! See ya’!