1. Preheat the oven to 375°F; place rack in the center position.
2. Using a zester or very fine grater, zest enough of the lemon rind to yield about 2 tablespoons of rind. Slice the lemon in half and discard any immediately visible seeds.
3. To prepare the artichokes, trim off all but about 1/4 inch of the stem. Peel off and discard the outer leaves until you start to reach the tender yellow-green leaves underneath (about 2-3 layers, depending on the size of your artichokes).
4. Trim top of the artichoke, making sure to cut the tops off of the remaining leaves as they can be sharp and prickly. Cut the artichoke in half from top to bottom. Quickly coat the cut surfaces with lemon juice to prevent browning. (The browning happens very fast; it doesn’t change the flavor of the artichokes but it does look kind of funny. The easiest way to handle this is rub the cut lemon across the cut artichokes, coating each one as you go. It doesn’t take much juice, and if you feel like this step is too much work you can skip it.)
5. Looking at the cut side of the artichoke halves, you should see a small section of what look like tiny hairs, just at the base of the leaves. This is the “choke” and those tiny hairs will feel prickly in your mouth and throat if you eat them. (Don’t worry, they won’t hurt you.) Use a small spoon and scrape these out, discarding them.
6. Place the artichoke halves in a medium mixing bowl and repeat with the remaining artichokes. Once you have finished prepping all eight artichokes, toss them with the olive oil, any remaining juice in the lemon and sea salt to taste.
7. Arrange the artichokes on a baking sheet in a single layer, cut side down, cover loosely with tin foil and place in the oven. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
8. While the artichokes roast, stir together the mascarpone and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Add the minced garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
9. When the artichokes are done, arrange the halves on a serving dish around the bowl of dip and serve immediately.
8 Baby artichokes (about the size of your fist)
2 tbsp. Olive oil
Coarsely ground sea salt or salt flakes
3 tbsp. Mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. Milk
1 clove Garlic; minced finely
Freshly ground black pepper
Artichokes are a favorite of mine, but if you’ve ever tried steaming the big ones you know how much time it takes just to get a few leaves to nibble on. Instead of fighting the full-grown artichokes, this recipe calls for roasting them when they are smaller (and nearly the whole artichoke is edible still). Served alongside a delicious, creamy lemon-garlic dip, I doubt you’ll have many leftovers.
Serves: 4 servings
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes
seasonal RECIPES for those who love to EAT
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