Roasted baby artichokes with curried yogurt
Artichokes are one of the few vegetables that my husband and I can't seem to agree on. I think they're one of the most exciting spring crops, perfectly delicious when simply steamed and pulled apart — leaf by leaf — with a mix of good olive oil and balsamic. He thinks they're only really edible when used as a vehicle for some creamy, flavor bomb dip. So this recipe is a compromise.
I picked these up last week at the Tuesday farmer's market in Berkeley from Full Belly Farms. It's the first time in a while I've been to a really good farmer's market, and I was moved by how much more inspired I was to shop after seeing such beautiful, just-picked produce all artfully displayed. It makes a huge difference in how I feel about the food I'm about cook. It's a privilege, and one that I'm extremely grateful for. Along with the artichokes, I snagged one bunch of those thin little asparagus spears, (what's turning out to be) a month's worth of kumquats and the softest dates I've ever tasted.
You can imagine my excitement when the Full Belly guy told me the artichokes I picked out were chokeless, meaning you don't have to remove all those spiky little hairs in the heart. You can eat them whole (whole!) after a little steaming, boiling or roasting. Who knew that these existed in the world? I certainly didn't. And I've been eating artichokes since I was eight. If you haven't tried these magical little guys, they're worth hunting for. Bonus points if you can get the baby ones available now through late April, which are picked from the bottom of the plant.
I tackled these two ways: boiling and roasting. I didn't have to do much prep beyond trimming the stem and pulling off a couple of the hard outer leaves. After a short boil, I patted them dry, doused them in olive oil and chunky salt and roasted them until crispy in a hot oven. I served them with this yogurt curry dip that has become my go-to for nearly everything. Since artichokes love lemon, garlic and oil, this is a pairing made in heaven. (And hopefully, it will make K happy, because his opinion is ultimately the one that really counts.)
This is a perfect little appetizer that will make you seem fancier than you really are. I made it using chokeless baby artichokes, which means I didn't have to do much in the way of prep. But, if you don't have access to these amazing little guys, you simply have to do the regular artichoke prep. That involves removing the tough outer leaves with your hands, cutting off about 1 inch from the top, slicing them in half and then scraping out all the sharp bits and little hairs. If you're prepping a bunch, the trick everyone does to prevent the cut ones from browning is to stick them in a bowl of cold water with a slice of lemon.
8 chokeless baby artichokes (or 4 regular ones)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup full-fat greek yogurt (any full-fat yogurt will do)
1/2 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Trim the bottom of the artichoke and remove and just a couple of the hard outer leaves. Lower into the boiling water and cook until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. (If using regular-sized artichokes, probably closer to 10 to 12 minutes). Drain and pat dry. Wipe down the pot and set aside.
Slice the artichokes in half and transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven, heart side down, and roast util slightly charted, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the yogurt. In the same pot, warm the remaining tablespoon of oil over low heat. Add the curry powder, paprika and garlic powder and cook, stirring, until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the oil into the yogurt and stir to combine. Stir in the lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of the juice. Add salt, to taste.
Drizzle the artichokes with the curried yogurt or simply dip.