Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steamed Baby Artichokes

I love artichokes.  They have such an indescribably magical flavor - a combination of earthiness, sweetness, and springiness.  The big globe artichokes can sometimes seem like an awful lot of effort for not a lot of food, and that is when it's a great idea to pick up a bunch of baby artichokes.

The baby artichoke is almost entirely edible.  There are a few tough outer leaves that need to be stripped away, but otherwise they are ready to get in your belly.  There is no choke to avoid, so you can treat it basically as one big artichoke heart.  And the heart is what it's all about, after all.

This dish would be great as an appetizer, or as part of a tapas ensemble.  It also works as a side dish.  You could cut up the artichokes smaller and put them in a pasta dish, if you like.  But I think they are best alone, drizzled with the simple chive vinaigrette, and savored.

For prep purposes, just trim the stem and pull off the toughest outer leaves.  Then your baby artichokes are ready for their steam bath.

Steamed Baby Artichokes
serves 2-3 as a side dish or small plate


8 or 9 baby artichokes, trimmed
kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 small lemon
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives


1.  Bring a couple of inches of water to a boil in a pot.  Place a steamer insert into the pot (the bottom of the insert should not be touching water) and place the artichokes in the insert.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Cover and steam for 15-20 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender.  You should easily be able to insert a fork into the artichokes and pull it out again.  Remove from heat.

2.  Cut the baby artichokes in half and lay them on a platter, cut side up.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon, chives, and a pinch of salt.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the baby artichokes.  Serve.


1 comment:

  1. When I first looked at your photo I thought they were Brussel sprouts! I am fascinated by these baby artichokes, which I have never bought ..... I shall now!!!
    Thanks for another simple and great recipe with so few ingredients.