Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Round One

The Artichoke season has begun.
These are only about two inches across, but as last year's artichoke season went on long enough for the kids to be quite sick of them, I figured we might as well start this year when the first buds were young and chokeless.
I used to just pull off the outer leaves and boil them 'til they were soft. Nowadays I prefer to boil them in acidulated water (add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar) until just tender, then slice in half and dig out whatever choke there is with a narrow spoon. (The smaller ones in the strainer above had no choke at all - I almost could have eaten them whole). Then I place the halves in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and place under the broiler for a minute or two.
Today I got a little carried away with the lemon juice. Our lemon tree has the perverse habit of producing bushels of lemons in the winter, and only a few in the summer, so I like to use them up when I have them. I used the juice from one whole lemon in the boiling water, then another one along with the olive oil in the baking dish. "Lip-puckeringly sour" would be a fair description of the result. I thought the artichokes were fantastic that way, with tart being the first flavor sensed, followed by artichoke accented with oil and occasional bursts of salt. Ben enjoyed them, too, but my other two said "next time, Mom, only one lemon! Oh, well.
There will be a next time.


  1. Don't know much about artichokes, but fresh lemons off a tree? Oh, my! Western Washington is great, but Southern California is certainly the place for home-grown food. Thanks for sharing your life there.

  2. Oh, those look good. Every now and then I get a craving for artichokes but don't have the luxury of picking them from the yard.