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Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes With Pistachios, Lemon And Black Quinoa Recipe

by | May 7, 2012
Pan Roasted Artichokes With Pistachios And Black Quinoa Recipe

Pan Roasted Artichokes With Pistachios And Black Quinoa

Small artichokes really don’t get the love they deserve. While the large ones are delicious and great for entertaining, the smaller kind are easier to work with and much more versatile. They are tender and delicious, and usually even less expensive.

This recipe for pan roasted baby artichokes was born out of necessity. After a solid week of forgetting to buy the herbs I needed to make my usual recipe, my bag of artichokes were the last remaining vegetable in my refrigerator and I knew if I didn’t cook them they would soon go bad. So I started digging around my pantry.

Since I didn’t have parsley, I needed something else to season the artichokes. The only other fresh flavor I had was lemon, so I decided to use the zest as a primary ingredient. I also used pistachio nuts that I had left over from my Chard, Pistachios and Mint recipe, and some black quinoa (here’s my favorite brand) to make the dish more substantial.

I was completely unprepared for how delicious this turned out. I caramelized the lemon zest with some shallot, which gave the artichokes a sweet tanginess that perfectly balanced their creamy flavor. The quinoa added a beautiful contrasting color and an intriguing crunchy texture, while the nuttiness of the pistachios gave the dish a rich earthiness.

As soon as I tasted it I knew I needed to share this recipe. The second time around it turned out just as good.

Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes With Pistachios, Lemon and Black Quinoa


  • 1 lb small artichokes
  • 1 half medium shallot
  • 1/4 c. shelled pistachio nuts
  • Juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1/2 c. black quinoa cooked
  • 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

If you haven’t cooked your quinoa, start that first. Remember that it expands to four times its original volume when cooked, so you don’t need to make a lot.

Whisk 1/4 c. olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Clean your artichokes by cutting off the top third and the bottom, then removing all the tough leaves. You do not want the artichokes to be stringy, so it is better to remove extra leaves than too few.

Cut your clean artichoke in half then submerge it instantly in the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Artichokes quickly oxidize and turn black when exposed to air. The acid from the lemon juice will prevent this from happening. As you’re cleaning the artichokes and adding them to the bowl, stir the mixture regularly to be sure none are exposed to air for too long.

Thinly slice your shallot. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep pan on medium high heat. When the oil swirls easily in the pan add the shallots and pistachio nuts. When the shallots begin to brown, add the zest and stir. Cook the mixture for another minute or two until the shallots have almost completely caramelized.

Add the artichokes and liquid to the pan and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the artichokes so their faces are touching the surface of the pan and allow them to brown and the liquid to reduce. Stir the artichokes every few minutes until the liquid is almost completely reduced and all surfaces of the artichokes start to brown. If the pan dries before the artichokes have finished cooking, add 1/8 c. of water to prevent the shallots and nuts from burning.

The artichokes are done cooking when then are tender all the way through. At the last minute, toss in the quinoa and mix well. Make sure to scrape the caramelized bits of shallot and zest into the quinoa. Adjust salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Makes one main course or 2-3 side dishes. This would pair beautifully with roasted rosemary chicken.

Originally published April 19, 2010.

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Farmers Market Update: Height of Spring

by | Apr 26, 2009
Fava Beans

Fava Beans

If you have been meaning to go to the farmers market but still haven’t gotten around to it, I strongly suggest you make it happen next week. Some of these Spring treats are only available a few weeks out of the year, and they are peaking right now.

This week I bought young fava beans from Iacopi Farm. Normally fava beans require a substantial amount of work to prepare, including shelling, blanching and removing the tough skin of each bean with a pairing knife. When young however, fava beans can be roasted and eaten whole. Last night I put mine in the oven with tomatoes, green olives, chili flakes and anchovies, then sprinkled on capers, parsley and lemon juice when I pulled them out. It was amazing.

Baby Artichokes

Baby Artichokes

Thumbalina Carrots

Thumbalina Carrots

Strawberries are also particularly special right now. At Dirty Girl Produce I found strawberries from both first year plants and second year plants, and I was astounded by the difference. Apparently as strawberry plants get older they produce smaller, sweeter, more concentrated fruit. These made for the most intesely flavored berries I found at the market. The young berries were also wonderful though, big sweet and more juicy than the second years. I bought both. Can you tell which is which?

Shell Peas

Shell Peas

1st & 2nd Year Strawberries

1st & 2nd Year Strawberries

The flowering kale rabe was gone this week, but asparagus is available in all sizes and colors. The variety of onions right now is remarkable.

Finally, since I have been interested in Moroccan cooking lately I have been reading a lot about an ingredient called preserved lemons. I bought one this week from Boulette’s Larder and used it to make the best hummus I have ever had in my life.

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons

Yellow Onions

Yellow Onions


  • Baby artichokes (Iacopi Farm)
  • Young fava beans (Iacopi Farm)
  • 1st year strawberries (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • 2nd year strawberries (Dirty Girl Produce)
  • Tangelos (Hamada Farms)
  • Meyer lemons (Hamada Farms)
  • Rainbow chard (Capay Organics)
  • Sugar snap peas (Capay Organics)
  • Endive (Madison Growers)
  • Mediterranean cucumbers (Madison Growers)
  • Leek (Marin Root Farms)
  • Spring onion (Marin Root Farms)
  • Yellow onion (Marin Root Farms)
  • Carrots (Star Route Farm)
  • Tatsoi (Star Route Farm)
  • Arugula (Star Route Farm)
  • Asparagus (Zuckerman’s Farm)
  • Tangelo (Peredez Farms)
  • Italian parsley (Chue’s Farm)
  • Baby bok choy (Chue’s Farm)
  • Garlic (Chue’s Farm)
  • Firm tofu (Hodo Soy)
  • Preserved lemon (Boulette’s Larder)
  • Red pepper anchovies (Boulette’s Larder)

What did you find at the market this week?

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