Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Roast Artichokes

I adore artichokes in any form; steamed, grilled, broiled, baked, roasted, even canned. I know that they can seem intimidating to a cook with little experience preparing them, but really they are quite simple to prep and cook~ and sublime to eat.

2 lemons
4 artichokes
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dry dill weed
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Look for artichokes that have tightly closed leaves and feel heavy for their size. The stem should not look dry and the globe shouldn’t have too many brown areas.

1) Squeeze the juice from one of the lemons into a large bowl with cold water. Cut the other lemon in half and set aside.

2) Pre-heat the oven to 180C (375F). Snap the outer, tough dark green leaves off of the artichoke until you get down to the soft, pale yellow leaves, with green tips. With a serrated knife, cut the dark green tips off (about the top ½ to one inch). Rub all cut or snapped surfaces with a lemon half. Trim away the tough, outer surface of the stalk, and trim away the end. Rub this with lemon, too. Place the artichoke top down on a cutting board and cut in half. Scoop out the fuzz-- this is the 'choke'. If the artichoke is young and small, there may be no choke. Now, slice the halves in half (into quarters). Place them into the acidulated water and continue with the remaining artichokes.

3) Once all artichokes are prepared, remove from water, squeezing out excess liquid. Dump water out, wipe out the bowl to dry. Put the artichokes back into the dry bowl and pour in olive oil, the juice from the halved lemon, sprinkle with a good pinch of salt, a couple grinds of pepper and several dashes of dill weed. Toss to coat evenly. Scoop everything into a baking dish and roast, uncovered until the artichokes are soft and slightly golden (roughly 20-25 minutes). Remove from the oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, for just a few minutes, allowing the cheese to melt.

Serve hot or warm. Makes 2 side dishes (but I ate all four, myself…)

No comments: