I grew up in central California where I certainly ate my fair share of artichokes over the years. And during those four years I spent in Sicily, I probably ate way more than my fair share. Sorry, it couldn’t be helped.
My standard way of cooking/eating artichokes is to steam them whole then peel off the leaves one by one, dipping each into mayo before scraping off the tiny bits of artichoke “meat” with my teeth. I continue to do this until I have ingested way more mayonnaise than any person needs to consume in one sitting (as evidenced by the huge pile of artichoke leaves towering in front of me by the time I’m done) and I have made my way to the heart, which I carefully trim and clean before eating it with even more mayo. Don’t judge.
In Sicily it was different. There, I mostly ate smaller artichokes that were drizzled with fruity olive oil and grilled over an open flame. Delicious.
Of course I eat artichokes in lots of other ways, too. I love stuffing them with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic, Pecorino, and fresh herbs. I love artichoke hearts prepared just about any way you can imagine (especially breaded, fried, and drizzled with tart lemon-butter). I love cheesy, bubbling artichoke dips. I love artichoke soups.
While I do enjoy eating artichokes in a variety of ways, I haven’t branched out much when cooking whole artichokes. I’ve steamed them and boiled them and occasionally finish partially steamed or boiled artichokes on the grill – but that’s about it. So when I ran across this method for Simple Roasted Artichokes yesterday, I knew I had to give it a try.
I started with these gorgeous artichokes that I picked up at a fruit stand in Gilroy the other day. I love living in California.
First, I sliced off the top third of the artichoke with a sharp knife. All of that is inedible, so you aren’t wasting anything by doing this. Plus, it looks so pretty!
Next, I cut off the stem right at the base of the artichoke. The stem is edible if peeled, so you can save it if you want. Mine didn’t come with much of a stem anyway, so I didn’t bother saving it.
With the stems cut this way the artichokes will sit up nicely on their own. Aren’t they cute?
Now tear off a large square of heavy duty aluminum foil, drizzle it with a few drops of olive oil, and smear it around a bit. Place one artichoke in the middle of the foil and open up the leaves a bit with your fingers. Tuck a few peeled garlic cloves into the artichoke. Sprinkle kosher salt all over it then squeeze lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over the top. I used half a lemon per artichoke and probably drizzled a tablespoon or so of oil (maybe more).
Once you’ve seasoned it, wrap the foil up around the artichoke, sealing it well. If you don’t have heavy duty aluminum foil, wrap it with an extra sheet of the regular kind. Repeat with as many artichokes as you want. Place wrapped artichokes in a pan and roast in a preheated 425 degree oven for one hour and 15 minutes. If you are using small artichokes, one hour is good. Jumbo artichokes might take an hour and a half.
After removing them from the oven, let artichokes sit until cool enough to handle, then unwrap. The garlic will be soft and sweet and delicious – you’ll probably want to eat that first.
Next, start peeling off the leaves one by one, and enjoy the garlicky, lemony, salty olive oil as you scrape each one with your teeth. I didn’t even need mayonnaise!
If you’ve never dealt with a whole artichoke before, you might be a little confused/intimidated when it comes to finding the heart. I’m here to help. Remove all the leaves until it looks something like this.
Grab the remaining leaves with your fingers, grasp the bottom of the artichoke with your other hand, and pull.
The whole thing should pop right off like a cap, leaving some furry-looking stuff behind.
Take a spoon and gently scrape out the fur (no, it’s not actually fur).
What you have left is what I call the heart, but might be more accurately described as the artichoke bottom. Whatever you want to call it, it’s my favorite part!
The fork is only there for show – I always eat the entire artichoke with my hands (licking my fingers along the way).
While they did take a long time to roast, these artichokes were definitely worth the wait! They were simple to prepare and simply delicious. Next time I’ll probably add even more garlic cloves because the roasted garlic was one of the best parts.
In case my photos weren’t enough to illustrate the process, here’s a video that shows you the exact same method. Give it a try!