A bouquet of artichokes

With our own artichoke plants in the garden only just recovering from the cold weather in February, and some perhaps not having survived at all, our artichokes will be late this year, if we get any at all.  I couldn’t resist a bouquet of small ones in the market yesterday:

bouquet of artichokes

I was inspired by a piece on spring recipes by Ruth Rogers in the Observer on Sunday that included a recipe for artichokes baked in foil with thyme.  Of course, I made a couple of changes to the recipe: first, our thyme is just beginning to grow again and I didn’t want to pick too much of it so I used mint instead.  I cut the outside leaves off the artichokes and peeled the stems, then put half a fresh garlic clove and some mint leaves into the heart of each one.  These are too small to need the choke removing, but with bigger ones you would have to cut the choke out.

baked artichokes 1 

The other change I made to the recipe was to wrap the artichokes in greaseproof paper rather than foil.  When you cut artichokes you have to rub the cut edges with lemon juice or, as I did, put the whole artichoke into a bowl of lemon juice mixed with water.  I’ve found that when lemon juice touches aluminium foil the acid makes holes in it, so I decided to use paper instead.  I put each artichoke on a piece of paper big enough to wrap it in, ground some salt and pepper and poured some olive oil over it, then wrapped it up like a parcel, twisting the ends to seal them, a bit like a Xmas cracker.  I put the parcels in an oven dish and baked them for about 50 minutes (longer than Ruth Rogers recommends, but this may be because my oven is unreliable). 

Baked artichokes 2

They made a very tasty first course, with all the flavour sealed in but still with the leaves browning a little, and a good alternative to baking them in an open dish.

7 thoughts on “A bouquet of artichokes

  1. Mine were looking wonderful before the cold spell and then I really though that I had lost them. It has taken ages, but at last I see small shoots coming up again. I will be surprised if I get anything much off them this year now.
    Love this recipe I have made a note of it. Thanks Diane

  2. We took our artichoke plants out this winter but they had given us a good few years of fruits. Hopefully we´ll put more in but Big Man´s borther in law grows them so we should be well supplied. I love this recipe – so simple but the flavours must be incredible!

  3. Young artichokes are such a great treat in the Spring but, for for whatever reason, they’re a rarity here. You’re recipe sounds delicious and makes me want to find them all the more now. And thanks for the tip about the lemon juice and foil.

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