I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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May 5, 2011

how to trim and prepare delicious baby artichokes

I’ll admit, up until last week I was scared to tackle baby artichokes. They seemed so time consuming and complicated and I was certain I’d never get them to taste good. See, we have 4 or 5 massive artichoke plants that pop up every spring and have been largely decorative for the last few years for just this reason. That and also because they’re always full of earwigs and aphids and it seems like such a pain to clean them.

But I’ve been converted. And now I’m kicking myself for watching hundreds of baby artichokes sprout and flower and die on the plants over the last few years. WHAT WAS I THINKING????

Hopefully I can save the rest of you from making the same mistake. I’m telling you, these are divine.

Sauteed baby artichokes
from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, obviously

1 dozen smallish artichokes
olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
sea salt and pepper

The only time consuming part of this recipe is the artichoke prep. But really, it’s not that bad. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll breeze right through. Before you start, fill a bowl with filtered water and juice from a few lemons. You’ll drop the prepped artichokes in the lemon water as you finish trimming them, in order to avoid browning before you cook them.

Step 1: cut the top third off of the artichoke.

Step 2: remove the tough outer leaves, until only the softer, pale yellow-green leaves are left. (You can reverse the first two steps, if you prefer). Then trim the stem and bottom of the artichoke.

Step 3: Cut the trimmed artichoke in half and then quarters.

Step 4: remove the fuzzy inner leaves, if there are any.

Repeat with all of your artichokes, dropping them into the lemon water as you go. When you finish trimming, you’re ready to cook them.

Heat 1/4 c of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Add artichokes, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for ten minutes, stirring often until the artichokes are nicely browned and cooked through. And then, behold: a true spring delicacy. The first time I made them, I had to hide them in order to keep myself from eating every last one within 5 minutes.

You can eat these alone, in salad, with cheese, on crusty bread, in pasta, on a sandwich, in an antipasti platter, etc etc etc. They are good no matter what. My mom actually makes them using a simple marinade from Annie Sommerville’s Fields of Greens (also a fantastic vegetarian cookbook), and hers are delicious too.

Don’t be scared. It’s easy, I promise.


  1. michelle said on May 5, 2011

    I’ve always been afraid to cook artichokes for fear of screwing it up, thanks for the tutorial!

  2. blake said on May 5, 2011

    ahh, i’m so jealous of your nonchalant artichoke bounty! :) so glad you’re eating them now… BTW, we peel and eat the stems, too. They’re like a bonus, taste just like the heart. try it!

  3. Melissa said on May 5, 2011

    i shall no longer be scared of these green beauties. thank you….i can do this. i think i can, i think i can.

  4. east side bride said on May 6, 2011


  5. mrs. may said on May 6, 2011

    So yummy! This is the exact reason I love spring!

  6. Christine said on May 6, 2011

    yum. yum. yum.

  7. jbuck said on May 6, 2011

    What about the bugs? Are they just on the outside?

  8. Brenda said on May 8, 2011

    Beautiful. Too bad I don’t have any baby artichokes or I would totally make this.

  9. Desi said on May 10, 2011

    this post makes me miss Santa Cruz. I’ve been eating a ton of artichokes lately. Tasty and full of fiber;)

  10. sarah emily said on May 10, 2011

    Do you find that smaller artichokes are tastier? I’ve never had them and I always search out the ginormous ones….:)

  11. Catherine said on May 10, 2011

    You inspired me to make these! I did this last night and I am SO GLAD I did. The only thing I did differently was add a splash of white wine, because cooking with wine is somehow unavoidable for me. The artichokes on my sandwich this afternoon made my day. Thank you for inspiring me to take on the intimidating artichoke! It was well worth it :)

  12. Pearl said on May 10, 2011

    Thats awesome. Ive always wanted to know!
    Lovely Blog!!


  13. jenna said on May 20, 2011

    SO tempting. I’m resolved to move to a more moderate climate so I can actually garden. The idea of pulling beauties like this right out of the ground is mind boggling in my current land-state. Thanks for the inspiration!

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