At this same time last year, I was unaware of what I’ve been missing my whole life: I’d never had an artichoke. I’ve had a lot of catching up to do, but I’ve been doing my best.
I started with the standard globe artichokes, then played around with long-stem varieties with hearts down to there. Yum. And for the month of May, I’ve been getting my fill of baby artichokes while they’re at their best. (They’re the same artichoke you know and love, just picked from lower down on the plant; better yet – no choke has developed, so the center is entirely edible).
Nutritionally, a serving of artichokes—full-grown or babies—has just 40 calories and a whopping 5 grams of fiber– no wonder they keep me so full. They’re also a great source of potassium and a good source of vitamin C.
1. Rinse/brush baby artichokes under cold water
2. Snap off outer petals until all you see is pale yellow-green
3. Trim the stem off as well as a half-inch off the top
5. Quarter the artichokes
6. If you like, keep them in water with lemon juice or vinegar as you go, to keep them from browning
7. Sauté in a little bitof butter and olive oil with spices to taste (I love rosemary and lemon flavors with artichoke) until the artichokes are fragrant and a bit soft
8. Add a tablespoon or two of your pasta water to the sauté pan (if you, like me, made gnocchi to go along with this dish)
9. Cover and let steam for a few minutes to make sure the artichokes are cooked through
10. Plate on top of a handful of gnocchi, and if you have 3-month-aged Manchego lying around, finely shred a few times back and forth on your handheld shredder. Parmesan or any other hard cheese works, too. Manchego is just what I had around. Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives. Enjoy!
—Maggie Moon, MS, RD is the corporate dietitian for Fresh Direct, the premier online grocer based in New York City. In addition to being a dietitian, Maggie is also a writer and professional swing dancer.