Ode to Artichokes

My love affair with artichokes began when I was very small. I can’t remember a time I didn’t eat them. I remember pestering my mom to make them and it was a treat when she did. She’d marinate them and we’d scratch our teeth along the leaves, olive oil dripping down our fingers. The heart was saved for last to be savored with every small bite.

Now, many years later, I still love artichokes. In fact, I have 6 artichoke plants in my garden. These produce beautiful green and purple buds. The first harvest is enough for one each and as an appetizer. But then buds seem to appear daily and soon it’s possible to have a whole meal made of artichokes, and I end up in artichoke heaven.

For the longest time, I too marinated them as my mother did. Last year I came across Renée Kemps recipe for roasted artichokes. Now I switch between making a vinaigrette dip and roasting them.

When I roast them, I usually make enough for a whole meal and serve some crusty bread alongside to mop up the juices. I’m lazy with the buds and don’t trim them in any way. Here is my take on Renée’s delicious recipe.

Roasted Artichokes with Garlic and Honey

  • 4 large artichokes
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3-4 Tbs honey

Cook the artichokes in a large pot of water until soft. Very fresh artichokes sometimes take only 10 minutes. Check the softness by pricking a fork into the stem. Drain and leave to cool until cool enough to handle.

Mix together all other ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.

Heat the oven to 180°C. Cut the artichokes in half and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If using larger, more mature artichokes, remove the hairy part above the heart. Brush some of the marinade onto the halves and then spoon the rest of the marinade over the artichokes taking care the marinade gets down in between the leaves. Don’t worry if the marinade pools on the parchment paper. This is delicious sopped up with bread.

Bake the artichoke halves for about 15 minutes, until they turn golden. Serve with plenty of bread to sop up the juices.

Notes: I use whatever size artichokes I have, hence the size difference in the photos. Play around with the amount of vinegar and honey to get your desired sweetness.

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