This easy recipe for whole roasted artichokes yields gorgeously tender insides and caramelised, crispy leaves. An elegant vegetarian appetizer or starter.
The artichoke recipes continue. I mentioned in my recent post about steamed artichokes that I had recently read about a new way to prepare these fabulous vegetables on the blog, Life’s Ambrosia. The recipe called for whole roasting them before continuing in the French fashion of dipping them in something delicious.
The recipe for this post stays in pretty much the same vein as the one I read, but it was so freakin’ delicious that I absolutely had to include it – to shout about it – here. When your eyes are closed, you are mmmmmming and there’s butter dribbling down your chin, it’s time to post.
Although you don’t eat the crunchy, browned part of the artichoke with this method, the roasted flavours are imparted to the tender flesh you scrape off with your teeth. This method is much, much, much more delicious than simply steaming them. They take longer, that’s for sure, but they suffer from no trapped water which can sometimes make steamed or boiled artichokes unpleasantly waterlogged.
Some minor preparation is necessary before chucking the artichokes in the oven and forgetting about them. Slice off the top 2-3 centimetres of the thistle and trim the pointy tips of the outer leaves with scissors. Rub the whole thing with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice and you are ready to go.
For the dip, this time I opted for a simple, classic combination of melted butter and fresh lemon juice. The flavours were amazing. This dip, believe it or not, is also a lighter option than homemade mayonnaise, which is often served with artichokes. This is because the melted butter and juice form a thin sauce, only a little of which will cling to the leaves when you dip. A little is all that you need. With enough fresh lemon to cut through the rich, creaminess of the butter, a sprinkle of sea salt and a grind or two of black pepper is all that you need for a taste sensation.
For a vegan option, substitute the butter for a really delicious extra-virgin olive oil – the flavour will be different, but still wonderful.
An elegant, flavourful, aromatic, beautiful snack, or first course to a fabulous dinner.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 20g butter (use fabulous olive oil for vegan)
- 10g or 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Trim the artichoke - with a strong, sharp knife slice off the stem so the flower sits flat (you can save it for another use) and cut off the top 2-3cm. Use scissors to cut the ends off the pointy leaves. Rub the whole thing with the olive oil/lemon mixture, paying particular attention to the cut sides. Drizzle the remaining mixture over the top.
- Roast in a 200c oven for about 75 minutes. Serve.
- Just before you are ready to eat the artichoke, melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the lemon juice. You may need a little more or a little less than the recipe lists, depending on your preference - I like things tart. Season to taste and transfer to a small dipping pot.
- To make this dish vegan, use olive oil instead of butter for the dipping sauce.