Artichokes Roasted In the Oven
We love artichokes, as a salad, stuffed, with pasta, always a treat. We saw young, small, purple artichokes on the market and decided to take a different approach. Let’s roast them in the oven with lots of fresh thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.
The bitter, nutty taste of the artichokes was clearly present, and it was delicious in combination with the mouthfeel (the olive oil) and the aromatic herbs. Compared to steamed artichokes the roasted ones come with stronger but not too strong flavours.
The artichokes were clearly young because there was no centre choke (the hairy part), which meant that we could eat most of the artichoke, including the stem.
Normally pairing artichokes and wine is a real challenge. According to various researchers this is due to cynarin, a chemical especially found in the leaves of the artichoke. When the wine and the cynarin meet in your mouth, the natural sweetness of the wine is enhanced, making it taste too sweet. Meaning you must pair artichokes with a bone-dry, crisp, unoaked white wine with clear, present acidity. Roasting the artichokes in the oven seems to reduce the impact of the cynarin. We suggest serving the artichokes with a medium bodied, dry red wine, not too complex. Could be Merlot, perhaps Malbec or Carménère.
What You Need
- Young, Small Artichokes
- One Garlic Clove
- Fresh Thyme, Rosemary and Bay Leaf
- One Lemon
- Olive Oil
What You Do
Heat your oven to 150 °C or 300 °F. Press the lemon and add the juice to a bowl of cold water. Slice the artichokes lengthwise in two. Add them to the water. Check if they have a centre choke. If so, try to remove. Let the artichokes soak for a few minutes. In the meantime peel the garlic and chop, coarsely. Add a generous amount of olive oil to your baking dish, dry the artichokes somewhat, add them to the dish, add the garlic, the sprigs of thyme and rosemary, the bay leaf. Mix. Sprinkle with more olive oil. Cover with aluminium foil and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes increase the temperature to 180 °C or 355 °F. Leave for 30 minutes. Check if the artichokes are ready. The trick is simple. If you can remove a leave without too much trouble, they are ready, if not, give them 5 more minutes. You could also check the stem, it should be soft. Remove the foil and leave in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. In parallel fry some merguez sausages.
Artichokes require eating with your hands. Given the olive oil you may need an extra napkin or two.