#250 roasted artichoke

Catherine de Medici was known for her love of astrology and hired the famous astrologer Nostradamus as her personal advisor. She would often consult with him before making important decisions, and it is said that he predicted many of the major events that occurred during her reign as queen consort and later as queen mother of France. Today, astrology plays an active & important role in my life, but unlike the famous Black Queen, who used poison & black magic, I merely use it for guidance! That aside, she is also known for spreading artichokes all over Europe, bringing them to France from her beloved Italy. Learn how to enjoy them whole:

  • 1-2 large artichokes, or 4 small ones
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • salt

For the garlic butter sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Depending on the size of your artichokes, you can work with this easy recipe as you wish. First, slice the top third of the artichoke with a sharp knife. All of that part is inedible, so you aren’t wasting anything by doing this. Plus, it adds prettiness when serving. Next, 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, although in my experience, it can be somewhat bitter. With the stems cut off the base, the artichokes will sit up nicely on their own.

Place the artichokes stem-side down in a bowl and drizzle with lemon juice. Slightly separate the artichoke leaves with your hands. Insert a knife blade into the center of each artichoke to create a garlic clove-size space. Drizzle each artichoke with olive oil and press 1 clove of garlic into the center of each artichoke; season with salt. Tightly wrap each artichoke twice with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the wrapped artichokes in a baking dish.

Roast in the preheated oven until sizzling, about 1 hour 20 minutes. If you are using small artichokes, one hour is good. Jumbo artichokes might take about 1 hour and a half. To make sure the artichoke is done, turn it over and pierce the bottom of the artichoke with a thin knife. The knife will slide in easily when it is tender enough to eat.

While the artichokes bake, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the salt, garlic powder, & onion powder. Whisk to combine.

After removing them from the oven, let the artichokes rest until cool enough to handle, then unwrap. The garlic will be soft and sweet and delicious. Next start peeling off the leaves one by one, and enjoy with the delicious garlic sauce as you scrape each one with your teeth. Dealing with a whole artichoke can be quite intimidating, and getting to the heart is no easy feat! Remove all the leaves until only the core remains. There will be a bunch of thin tender leaves gathered in the middle. 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, which is called the choke – google it. Take a spoon and gently scrape out the choke. Your not going to want to eat that part.

What is left is the heart, or the artichoke bottom. It is delicious dipped in butter!

Here’s a fun fact about artichokes: The artichoke is actually a type of thistle, and the part that we eat is the flower bud before it blooms. If left to fully mature, the artichoke will eventually bloom into a beautiful, bright purple flower that resembles a thistle.

The history of artichokes can be traced back to the Mediterranean region, where they have been cultivated and consumed for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered artichokes to be a delicacy, and they were often served at lavish feasts. In the 16th century, artichokes were brought to Europe by Catherine de Medici, an Italian noblewoman who married the king of France. She was a big fan of artichokes and brought them with her as she moved to France, where they quickly became popular among the nobility.

In the United States, artichokes were first introduced in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants who settled in California. Today, California is the primary producer of artichokes in the United States, and they are commonly found in dishes ranging from dips to salads to pasta dishes. Throughout history, artichokes have been prized for their unique flavor and health benefits. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to any diet. So, don’t hesitate in trying out this simple, yet delicious recipe, perfect for a Sunday afternoon.


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