While we lived in California, fresh artichokes were so readily available. We enjoyed them often. But after moving East, we do not frequently see good artichokes in our grocery stores. The other day, I spotted some good small (not “baby”) artichokes. I have posted several artichoke recipes; large ones, baby ones but this one falls in-between. I served this simply with mayo, a wedge of lemon, skinned Campari tomato, and some pork meatballs that I made. I served this as a starter dish with red wine.
I did not take pictures of the preparation of the artichokes but it was prepared in a manner similar to the large artichokes I posted before. Using a long sharp knife, I went around the outside of the artichoke to remove the hard petals. I then removed the top and removed the skin of the stalk and the base. I immediately placed it into acidulated water (lemon juice added to water) to prevent discoloration. I added wedges of lemon (after squeezing the juice), a medium onion, peeled and quartered, whole pepper corns, a splash of olive oil, and a few bay leaves. I boiled the artichokes on a medium low flame of 40 minutes or so or until the base could be easily pierced. I let them cool down in the simmering liquid. After they cooled to the room temperature, I cut them in half. Using a spoon, I then removed the chokes (see below).
These were not baby artichokes so the chokes had to be removed. The young inner petals, however, were edible and I did not remove them (see below).
Since we have not had artichokes for a long time, we decide to have it simply with lemon and mayo. The artichokes hearts have such a unique flavor. During our time of eating artichokes in California, we discovered chasing a bite of artichoke with a swig of water enhances the unique artichoke flavor for a second time and really adds to the enjoyment of the dish. As we may have said before, whomever first ate this huge thistle bud known as artichokes must have been really hungry but it turned out to be a delicacy. This was perfect starter for us.