Roasted Artichokes

From Cook's Illustrated | May/June 2014

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Why this recipe works:

Artichokes are often steamed, but we find that roasting is the best approach for accentuating their nutty flavor. To ensure artichokes that are fully tender and nicely browned, we trim them one by one, dropping them in lemon water to prevent them from oxidizing. Next, we toss the artichokes… read more

Artichokes are often steamed, but we find that roasting is the best approach for accentuating their nutty flavor. To ensure artichokes that are fully tender and nicely browned, we trim them one by one, dropping them in lemon water to prevent them from oxidizing. Next, we toss the artichokes with seasoned oil, making sure to get oil between their leaves. Finally, we roast them in a 475-degree oven in a baking dish tightly crimped with foil until the leaves, heart, and stem are tender. To accentuate the rich, nutty flavor of the vegetable, we serve them with a tangy lemon vinaigrette or a garlicky butter sauce.

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Roasted Artichokes

The most common way to cook artichokes—in a pot of boiling water—is also the worst. We wanted to add flavor, not wash it away.

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Serves 4

If your artichokes are larger than 8 to 10 ounces, strip away another layer or two of the toughest outer leaves. Use your teeth to scrape the flesh from the cooked tough outer leaves. The inner tender leaves, heart, and stem are entirely edible. Serve the artichokes plain with a squeeze of lemon or pair them with Aïoli or Garlic Butter Sauce (see related content).

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 4 artichokes (8 to 10 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Cut lemon in half, squeeze halves into 2 quarts water, and drop in spent halves.

    2. Cut off most of stem of 1 artichoke, leaving about 3/4 inch attached. Cut off top quarter. Pull tough outer leaves downward toward stem and break off at base; continue until first three or four rows of leaves have been removed. Using paring knife, trim outer layer of stem and rough areas around base, removing any dark green parts. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise. Using spoon, remove fuzzy choke. Pull out inner, tiny purple-tinged leaves, leaving small cavity in center of each half. Drop prepped halves into lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.

    3. Brush 13 by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil. Remove artichokes from lemon water, shaking off some excess lemon water (some should be left clinging to leaves). Toss artichokes with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt and season with pepper to taste, gently working some oil and seasonings between leaves. Arrange artichoke halves cut side down in baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

    4. Roast until cut sides of artichokes start to brown and both bases and leaves are tender when poked with tip of paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer artichokes to serving dish. Serve artichokes warm or at room temperature, passing lemon wedges separately.

Step By Step: Preparing Artichokes for Roasting

A bit of knife work before roasting will lead to more concentrated flavor—and eliminate the messy scooping work at the table.

TRIM TOP AND BOTTOM: Using sharp chef’s knife, cut away most of stem, leaving about 3/4 inch attached. Cut off top quarter of leaves.

SNAP OFF OUTER LEAVES: Pull tough outer leaves downward and break off at base. Repeat with leaves in first 3 or 4 rows from base.

TIDY UP STEM: Use paring knife to trim away tough outer layer of stem and base, removing dark green parts.

SPLIT AND SCOOP: Halve artichoke lengthwise with chef’s knife. Using spoon, scoop out fuzzy choke.

REMOVE LEAVES AROUND CHOKE: Pull out tiny purple-tinged leaves around choke, leaving small cavity.

Assessing Artichokes

When selecting fresh artichokes at the market, examine the leaves for some clues that will help you pick the best specimens. The leaves should look tight, compact, and bright green; they should not appear dried out or feathery at the edges. If you give an artichoke a squeeze, its leaves should squeak as they rub together (evidence that the artichoke still possesses much of its moisture). And while we don’t advocate abusing the produce in the store, the leaves should also snap off cleanly; if they bend, the artichoke is old.

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