Let's be honest: Fresh artichokes seem like a lot of work for very little actual food. But once you get the hang of trimming them, you'll realize they are rather quick to prepare. While yes, you can use canned or frozen artichoke hearts for many preparations, if you come across fresh baby artichokes in your spring CSA or on sale, try them in this recipe for a delicious appetizer. Baby artichokes aren't actually younger artichokes, but they are much smaller and cook up a bit faster, making them perfect for sautéing into caramelized goodness. Here, they are served with a buttery pan sauce, but you can also serve them with aioli, garlic butter or hollandaise. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled if you're serving a crew.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, oregano, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.2.
Trim artichokes. Cut off the stem, cut off the top 1/3 of the artichoke and peel off the tough green outer leaves until you get to the lighter colored, softer leaves. Yes, you have to peel through a lot of the leaves to get to the good stuff — don't be shy about it. Use a paring knife to remove any leaves or tough spots around the stem. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise.3.
Artichokes will oxidize immediately, so to prevent browning, as soon as you've trimmed each one, place it in the olive oil and lemon mixture and toss so it's covered.4.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Use a pan that has a lid. Add artichokes and olive oil mixture to the pan. Use tongs to turn the artichoke halves cut-side down. Let sauté without disturbing for about 3-4 minutes, until artichokes are browned. Use tongs to turn them over. Add 1/4 cup water and immediately put the lid on and let artichokes steam for another three minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water again and let steam another 3 minutes. Poke a couple artichokes with a fork to make sure they are completely tender. If not, add a little more water and steam for another couple minutes. Place them on a plate and make the pan sauce.5.
Add stock to the pan and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up any of the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once stock slightly reduces (it happens quickly so keep an eye on it), remove pan from heat and add butter. Stir vigorously until you have a silky sauce. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Pour into a small bowl or ramekin.6.
Serve with a lemon wedge, dip those gorgeous artichokes in the sauce and enjoy!