Spring is synonymous with artichokes for me. And with the days finally turning a bit warmer here, spring cannot arrive fast enough. I grow ridiculously restless this time of year – restless to be outside turning the garden soil or sweeping out the shed or simply walking near the river and listening to everything awaken around me. And it is impossible for me to sleep much past the sunrise – chomping at the bit to start the day. Yesterday, after waking way too early, I decided to head to the little market just as they opened. Thinking spring, I spied a pile of artichokes and knew this was just what I needed to maybe coax our friend, spring, out from hiding a bit sooner.
These nutritional powerhouses are thought to have originated in Sicily. According to Best of Sicily magazine , the ancient Romans believed artichokes to be an aphrodisiac. And Marilyn Monroe was once crowned “Artichoke Queen” of a Californian town. Artichoke-love abounds! But I have one question – who actually dared to eat the first artichoke? Brave soul indeed given its fierce exterior. But I am thankful to whomever ventured forth – it has afforded me a lifetime of artichoke love.
Please, please, please do not let cleaning artichokes keep you from buying these delectable treats. Yes, they take a bit of work but it goes quickly (and even faster with a glass of crisp white vino alongside) and their sunny taste is so very worth the effort. After a busy day, I decided I would roast my artichokes simply with a bit of olive oil, lemon and salt. I took photos along the way and have posted below in hopes of coaxing even one more recruit over to our world of artichoke-love.
Happy spring and buon appetito!
Preparing the artichokes:
Step 1: Trim all the little leaves off around the bottom of the artichokes.
Step 2: Trip off the pointy end using a serrated knife.
Step 3: Trim off the thick ends of the stem.
Step 4: Cut off the pointy ends of the leaves. (Not sure you really need to do this but I like the way they look.)
Step 5: Cut in half and remove the prickly/fuzzy choke in the center. Use a spoon or little knife.
As you finish each half, put into a bowl filled with cold water and the juice of one lemon.
That’s it!! Now for the simple recipe:
Roasted Artichokes with Lemon
1. Prepare the artichokes as shown above. If soaking the artichokes in water, drain and pat dry. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Select pan – be sure the pan allows each artichoke half to lay flat. Drizzle bottom of pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Slice one lemon – you should have at least one slice for each artichoke half. Place the lemon slices in the pan. Take each artichoke half and rub with olive oil and place cut-side down on a lemon slice. Don’t worry if you have extra lemon slices in the pan.
4. Seal the pan tightly with foil and place in oven. Roast the artichokes until the centers are tender about 45 minutes to an hour.
5. Remove from oven. Turn artichokes cut side up and sprinkle with salt. I also squeeze the juice of another lemon on top prior to serving.
6. These are splendid warm or at room temperature! Enjoy!