I love artichokes. If my husband were to come home with flowers for me, he could probably do no better than if he were carrying a bouquet of bright green artichokes. I still don’t know why I love them so much. Maybe it’s like unwrapping a present, slowly savoring each leaf, and as you get closer to the middle the leaves are more like delicate petals and there’s less of a strain to eat it, finally coming to the best part with the savory and meaty heart in the end. It’s a food that gives a wide range of flavors and experiences, that it is its own little meal of appetizer, main course and dessert.
Typically my favorite way of preparing artichokes has been to steam them then serve with lemon butter, but after grabbing some artichokes the other day I decided that I needed to expand a little bit and experiment with roasting them. Although there are more steps involved in roasting artichokes, it does offer an interesting, almost smoky flavor that steaming does not.
- 2 artichokes, whole and raw
- 1 lemon
- 4 garlic cloves, skins removed
- olive oil
- Vegenaise, optional
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean your artichokes, then cut the end of the stalk off and trim the tips of each leaf.
Put the artichoke on its side and cut away about the first 1/2 inch of top of the artichoke. It’s easiest if you use a serrated knife for this.
Place the artichoke in a position that will be easiest for you to cut it in half. I found that after I cut the top 1/2 inch off that it was easiest to put the flower straight down on the cutting board, then cut through the stem to the top of the artichoke.
Cut a lemon in half, and then spread the lemon on all the cut and exposed areas of the artichokes.
In the bottom of a baking pan (with optional aluminum foil covering the inside of the dish) pour about 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle some salt.
Take your artichokes cut side down and spread them around in the bottom of the pan so that they are fully covered with oil and some of the salt.
Press a fresh garlic clove near the heart of each artichoke half, and then add a large slice of lemon on top of the garlic.
Put the artichokes face down in the pan with the garlic and lemon kept under each, then add about 1/4 water to the pan. Cover the pan well with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending upon the toughness of the artichokes you choose, as well as your own individual oven, you may find that about an hour and 15 minutes is a better length of time).
Serve the artichoke with a vegan lemon butter or with Vegenaise.
This turned out really nicely, but I think that there are a few things I may try or do differently next time.
One thing is that I felt that 45 minutes was not long enough. I like my artichoke leaves really quite tender so I could most definitely have kept them in the oven for at least an hour and 15 minutes, if not more.
Another thing is that I felt that the garlic did not add a lot of flavor, nor did the lemon. However, I think it would have been nice to perhaps blend the roasted garlic with the Vegenaise and then served that as the dipping sauce.
What I did enjoy was squeezing the roasted lemon over the artichokes, but this made eating the artichokes a little messy. It is probably better, at least for dinner parties, to serve a lemon dipping sauce on the side.
At any rate, this was a good experiment for me to try. Any suggestions on other good ways to prepare fresh artichokes?