{recipe} Balsamic Baby Artichokes with Garlic Chips and Parmesan

When I walk by those cute little baby artichokes in the store, I can’t resist them. They are adorable! Plus, unlike fully mature adult artichokes, they don’t actually have a “choke” to contend with, so they’re a bit easier to prepare. I like them parboiled and sauteed, then simply tossed with balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, a splash of tabasco, a handful of parmesan, and some savory garlic chips.

I like artichokes for health reasons, too. The edible part of a large artichoke is only about 25 calories! Plus, they are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid. They are also one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can eat. A USDA study ranked the antioxidant content of different vegetables, and found that artichokes are the number one vegetable for antioxidants.

Did you know that artichokes temporarily change your taste perception? Artichokes contain a compound called cynarin that mess with your tongue–and your mind–making things taste sweeter post-artichoke. Take a sip of water after your next bite of artichoke and you’ll see that it tastes sweeter. This is why you’ll never see artichokes at a wine tasting; they alter the taste of the wine significantly. If you want to serve wine with artichokes, you can counteract the sweet effect by choosing a highly acidic white or a bone-dry champagne.

Balsamic Baby Artichokes with Garlic Chips

serves 2 as an appetizer or side dish


  • 3/4 lb baby artichokes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 3 Tblsp grated parmesan


  • Prepare a medium-sized bowl with cold water. Add half the lemon juice.
  • Trim the bottom of each artichoke, then cut them in half. Use your hands or your knife to strip away the tough outer leaves (this may be a lot of leaves–don’t be shy about stripping them away; the tough leaves won’t taste good.) As you’re working, place the trimmed artichokes in the bowl with the lemon juice and water so they don’t oxidize.
  • Heat a pot of salted water on the stove over high heat. When the water boils, drain the artichokes and add them to the boiling water. Cook for 2-4 minutes, until tender. (How long you cook them will depend on how big they are.) Drain well, then pat with paper towels to dry and set them aside.
  • Prepare a small plate with 2 layers of paper towels and set it by the stove. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. When oil is shimmering, add half the garlic slices and watch them very carefully. As soon as they begin to brown around the edges, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and put them on the prepared plate. (They will continue to cook and fully brown after you remove them.) If you burn some, it’s OK – just throw them out. Repeat process with remaining garlic slices.
  • Make sure there is no garlic in the pan before proceeding. Add artichokes to the garlic oil in the pan and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook the artichokes, flipping every minute or so, for about 3-5 minutes, until they are crisp and browned. (Be careful as the oil may splatter when you first add the artichokes.) . Remove the artichokes to a small mixing bowl.
  • Add vinegar, remaining lemon juice, and Tabasco to the bowl and toss the artichokes. Add almost all of the parmesan, reserving one or two teaspoons, and toss to mix. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add half of garlic chips and toss to mix.
  • Spoon onto serving platter. Sprinkle with reserved parmesan and remaining garlic chips. Serve immediately.

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3 Responses

  1. Lora says:

    This looks divine!

  2. Betsy says:

    I love all your artichoke facts! We’re hosting an online seasonal potluck and March is artichoke month. If you’d like to link up your recipe, we’d love to have you http://bit.ly/zRfNjo

  1. July 9, 2012

    […] I took this recipe and I followed narrowly every step and the expected happened: four baby artichokes too rough to eat […]