Baby Artichokes — Pure and Simple

When I visited Green Scene Organic Market in Walker a couple of weeks ago, I was given a lesson on artichokes  that covered both the large globe artichokes and the smaller variety referred to as baby artichokes.

Years ago, my friend Cathy taught me how to eat an artichoke. Unfortunately, they were cooked and ready to eat by the time I got to her house, so I never had the opportunity to learn how to prepare an artichoke. Like so many home cooks, I remained intimidated by the thorny vegetable that is actually an unopened flower bud of a plant related to the sunflower in the thistle family.

Erin Andrus Haefle, owner of Green Scene, showed me how easy it is to prepare a globe artichoke by snapping off some of the tough outer petals, trimming off the top with a knife and steaming it in a pot of water until it becomes tender. After preparing some artichokes at home and leisurely eating them with friends, I wondered why I didn’t give them a try much sooner — so many good conversations and buttery morsels of artichoke I’ve missed.

You can watch Erin on video as she demonstrates how to prepare an artichoke when you read my column on line this week. Click here to watch the video.

Part two of my artichoke cooking primer came from the chef at Green Scene, Kristin Melby. She turned a pound of baby artichokes into completely edible melt-in-the-mouth, two-bite nuggets.

You can learn how to prepare baby artichokes, too, by watching Kristin in the video below.

Baby Artichokes are delicious when sauteed in olive oil, showered with a bit of fresh citrus juice and sprinkled with sea salt. I think they would be lovely tossed with some pasta. When I prepared baby artichokes at home following Kristin’s instructions, we ate them as a snack while they were still warm.

I’ve discovered eating artichokes is a special event — a ritual of sorts. The artichoke experience forces me to slow down, enjoy the adventure and focus on the people who are joining me around the table.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

It’s all about food — real food.

Baby Artichokes Pure and Simple

Recipe from Green Scene Organic Market, Walker, Minnesota

  • 1 pound baby artichokes, cleaned and halved or quartered
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • half medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
  • pinch salt
  • pepper to taste
  • freshly grated Parmesan Regiano

Prepare artichokes and keep in bowl of acidified water  (1tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup cold water) or equivalent amount of vinegar to water.

Pour 1/2 cup tap water into saucepan. Add artichokes and cover tightly. Steam over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and drain artichokes in strainer .Using the same sauce pan, return to heat and add the olive oil. Heat until a light smoke appears. Add onions and garlic and Herbs de Provence to pan and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add artichokes and continue cooking over low heat 5 minutes or more, depending on desired texture and artichoke size. Add lemon juice and season to taste.

Transfer to serving bowl. Add freshly grated Parmesan and serve.


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