Baby Artichokes with Leeks

by | Oct 22, 2008

Baby artichokes are one of my favorite treats this time of year, but many people do not know how to prepare them. They can be used as a side dish to a more substantial meal, or be tossed with salad or pasta.

Whenever you buy baby artichokes, be sure to pick up a lemon as well (preferably a Meyer lemon). Artichokes quickly oxidize and turn black when exposed to air, so they need to be immediately immersed in acid to prevent discoloration.

Ingredients: baby artichokes (about 8 to 10 per serving), lemon, garlic, leek, Italian parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine one quarter to one third cup olive oil, the juice of one lemon, salt, pepper and minced garlic. To clean, rinse artichokes with cool water then cut off the stem and the top one quarter of the leaves with a sharp knife. Remove the dark outer leaves by hand until the thin, pale inner leaves are all that remain. Do not be timid with your pruning, tough artichokes are not fun to eat.

Next cut the artichoke in half through the center and immediately add it to the bowl with lemon juice. Be sure that the cut center part of the artichoke contacts the liquid. Do this for all the artichokes, stirring frequently. When finished, cover the artichokes with plastic and allow them to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the rest of your meal. Continue to stir them occasionally.

Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse your leek. To make sure all the dirt gets out from inside it, chop off the hairy end and slicing the white part vertically in half and (if it is really big) then quarters, leaving the green leaves intact. Hold it under the faucet green side down and allow water to run through it while fanning out the layers. Beware of any dirt remaining on your cutting board.

Slice the leek into half inch thick segments, stopping before the white part transitions completely to dark green. Some light green leek is okay. Toward the top be wary of remaining dirt trapped in the outer layers.

Finely chop your parsley, about 2 tbsp worth. When you are ready to cook your artichokes (they take about ten minutes), heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add the leeks. Stir and cook until leeks start to soften, about one minute. Add the artichokes and marinade to the leeks and stir. Sprinkle on parsley. Turn artichoke halves so that most of their faces touch the surface of the pan. Cover. Stir every two minutes or so until the artichokes become tender and slightly browned, but keep them covered most of the time. The final verdict on when they are done is always a taste test. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

In the picture my baby artichokes are served with Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley and French green lentils. I admit this meal didn’t really do the artichokes justice. I prefer them with a more upscale Italian or Greek dish.

How ’bout you?

This recipe can also be found at Synapse.

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One Response to “Baby Artichokes with Leeks”

  1. Jenna says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It looks so yummy…very unexpected flavors…the addition of the pistachios is fabulous. Can’t wait to try it. Love your blog!

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