We really don’t have the time to prepare artichokes–there are small children here, after all. So when Tony bought some recently, they sat in the refrigerator for a week. I felt very guilty about this, but every time I looked at them, they just looked like work. I very nearly threw them away, but it turns out that after a week they were still firm and crisp, and I couldn’t let them all go to waste. Even though preparing them for cooking seems like you’re letting them all go to waste, really, you throw so much away. But it was worth the effort and then some.
I’d always just steamed artichokes whole, thinking artichokes were all about the leaves, tiny bites off the leaves on your way to the heart. But the stem’s delicious too, and if you prepare them this way, your very first bite can be tender stem followed by glorious heart. So try this, please; you’ll be delighted with the results. If you’re lucky enough to have a husband who makes aioli, so much the better.
juice of 1 large lemon
4 tbsp white wine
4 sprigs of thyme
olive oil, salt, and pepper
First, prepare the artichokes: snap off several layers of outer leaves. Trim just the end off the stem and slice the top third off the artichoke. Cut each artichoke into sixths and remove the fuzzy chokes with a paring knife. As you work, put the trimmed pieces in a large bowl of water and lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil a large baking dish. Drain the artichokes, pat them dry, and place them in a single layer in the baking dish. Toss with enough oil to moisten well, season with salt and pepper, and add the wine and thyme. Cover the baking dish with a layer of waxed paper, then with foil. Bake for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until artichokes are crisp around the edges and starting to brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.