I tried planting artichoke seedlings in my family's garden a few springs back.
They came up covered in thorns and leaves, essentially they looked like weeds, with little-to-no sign of actual artichokes. I think we might have only gotten one or two to eat that year. But the next spring? They came up again — this time with way more edibles. So now I know: The arrival of those thorny little plants is a sign of full-on spring. The little globes that emerge from the leaves are an assurance that the ground has warmed up considerably and that the growing season should be underway any time now. Soon we'll be planting summer's greens, tomatoes, corn and zucchini.
But for now, with these cool spring evenings, we'll be roasting delicious artichokes with tons of garlic and lemon. Artichokes might look intimidating at first glance, but after a little trimming, they couldn't be easier to deal with. I roast them in a very simple way — whole, with a garlic clove in the center — and the results are pretty spectacular. The inner leaves are luscious after stewing and steaming in olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and the garlic sweetens up a bit as well. They make a beautiful and satisfying side to any spring dinner.
Here's what you'll need:
First, peel the garlic cloves and set them aside.
Then, chop off the top third of each artichoke, along with any stray stems, and discard them.
Separate the leaves of the artichoke by gently pulling at each layer, starting from the outside...
And working your way in.
Once you get to the middle, use a spoon to remove the hairy center — or the "choke."
At this point, you'll also want to rinse the artichoke and pat it dry. You'll repeat this process with each artichoke.
Then, place each artichoke on a sheet of foil, and stick a garlic clove in the center of each one.
Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil...
Then season with salt and pepper.
Wrap up each artichoke in foil, place them in a heavy pot or ceramic dish, and pop them in the oven.
Once they're done, sprinkle with parsley and more lemon juice — and enjoy!
Oven-Roasted Artichokes With Garlic And Lemon
Recipe by Laura Wright
4 cloves of garlic
4 large artichokes
juice from 1 lemon
3-4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Peel the garlic cloves and set them aside.
Cut any stems off of the artichokes so that they can sit facing upward. Lay one artichoke on its side and cut the top third of the vegetable off. Discard the the tips of the leaves you've cut.
Face the artichoke upright again. You'll see that the layers of the leaves are tightly wound. Gently separate the leaves by pulling at the sides of the artichoke. Once you have the middle exposed, remove the dry hairy center, or "choke", by scraping it out with a spoon. Rinse the artichoke, pat it dry, and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining artichokes.
Lay out 4 pieces of foil that are large enough to wrap around the artichokes. Place each trimmed artichoke in the center of a piece of foil. Stick a garlic clove in the middle of each one and drizzle the middles and leaves of the artichokes with the lemon juice and olive oil, ensuring that you get the parts between the leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
Wrap the artichokes up in the foil and place the foil packets in a heavy pot or ceramic dish. Roast the artichokes in the oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and the bases of the artichokes can be pierced with a fork. Sprinkle them with a bit of parsley and more lemon juice if you like. Enjoy immediately.