Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes

Let’s pretend you told me that I could only eat one vegetable for the rest of my life, and I had to choose immediately.  I’d have a quick pang about corn, and asparagus, but it wouldn’t really be a tough decision.  I’m an artichoke girl at heart…I love the prickly, ornery things.  Next to nice, cooperative, easy veggies like spinach and string beans they are a pain in the neck to prepare, and usually a complete work-out to eat, but they are just so dang scrumptious.  I do love a vegetable that plays hard to get.

However, I did recently find a recipe that tames the artichoke just a little, and is a glorious, easy, versatile extravaganza of artichoke wonderfulness.  The key to this is getting baby artichokes – cute little guys that have not grown up enough to have the prickly, hard-to-deal-with choke in the middle.  Lately I have been finding them in little plastic cases in my regular old supermarket – about 9 to a case, which is perfect.  Here’s what you do.

Take each baby artichoke and pull off the first few layers of those tough outside leaves.  You’re looking for the more tender, light green layer of leaves towards the middle.  Once you get the outside layer off, grab your sharpest knife and lop off the stem, as close to the bottom as you can get, and the top 1/2 inch or so of the remaining leaves.  Now cut the artichoke into halves and then quarters, length-wise.  Drop the quarters into a bowl of cold water with lemon juice in it while you do the same thing to the rest of the artichokes.  It will take you about 10-15 minutes, tops, and by the end you will have worked out all your frustrations of the day.  It’s very satisfying.

Now heat up about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of olive oil in a medium size skillet until it is smoking hot.  Drain the artichokes, blot them to get the water off, and then carefully add them to the oil along with a generous dose of salt and pepper.  Roast them in the oil for about 5 minutes or until they are tender…spear one with a knife to check.  Once they are tender, toss in some fresh chopped parsley, a little minced garlic and some red pepper, and stir it around for a minute.  

Now, if you are going to serve them as is, you will want to scoop them out of the oil and drain them on some paper towels.  However, if you want to go direct to artichoke heaven, you can toss the whole thing – artichokes, oil, the entire shebang – into a bowl of hot pasta and toss.  Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese, a grinding of fresh pepper, and ask yourself what vegetable YOU would want if you were on a desert island.  

Artichokes, baby.


Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes
  • 24 baby artichokes, about 3 pounds
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Lemon wedges or red wine vinegar, for serving.
  1. Peel off and discard a few outer petals of theartichokes until you reach the pale, tender center. Trim the top andstem end, then quarter each artichoke. There should be no discernible choke, but if there is, remove it with a paring knife. Put theartichokes in a bowl of cold water to which the lemon juice has been added.
  2. 2.Heat a ½ inch of olive oil over medium heat. Drain and blot the artichokes and when the oil is nearly smoking, carefully add them to the skillet.Season well with salt and pepper, stirring to coat with oil. Let the artichokes brown slightly, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes,until they are tender when probed with a paring knife.
  3. Add the red pepper, garlic and parsley. Stir well and let sizzle for a minute or so. Transfer the artichokes to aplatter, sprinkle with coarse salt and serve with lemon wedges, or sprinkle sparingly with red wine vinegar. Eat hot, or at room temperature.

Recipe from The New York Times


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  1. Joanne says

    I had a very traumatic experience with baby artichokes a few months ago…and I haven't worked up the courage to attempt to cook them again. But you make them look so good…

  2. Not There Yet says

    Yum yum yum. Cant wait to try this – hopefully will be able to find the artichokes at my grocer….

  3. Getting a Restaurant Job says

    Will go to supermarket later to buy artichokes, I'm going to try this one and I hope I can get it right. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Anonymous says

    I made this recipe last night. I could only get frozen baby artichokes but it worked. It was a 4oz package. I followed the recipe but only added 2 cloves of garlic. This recipe is beyond great!

  5. Becki's Whole Life says

    I love artichokes, too! I agree the babies are a great, easier way to cook them up. This method sounds wonderful – and still healthy!

  6. ruthie says

    Okay, you’re having way too much influence on my culinary life. LOL! I just ordered a couple pounds of baby artichokes. Lucky me, living north of SF, I’ll get them the day after they’re sent. Then I’ll make these, haven’t had them in years. So, thanks for the reminder

    I saw Michael Chiarello prepare these in a demo at CIA here for the Olive Oil Council. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to eat them. Darn.

  7. says

    Hi Kate, I just found the first little baby artichokes at the store this afternoon. Quick google search for a recipe, and found yours! Can’t wait to give it a try.


    • Kate says

      Beth, I’m so glad you found me! And the baby artichokes…it must mean spring is actually on its way! Hope you love this recipe, it’s one of my all-time faves. :)


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