We’ve been seeing “baby” artichokes in the market for the last few weeks and cannot resist them. These little guys, about the size of a jumbo egg, are not immature—just small. They grow on the same plant as the big thistle does, but closer to the ground, shaded by the large saw-tooth leaves. They never develop a fuzzy interior choke, so with minimal preparation, the little darlings can be eaten whole. We snap off the tough outer leaves, trim the stem, cut off the pointed tip, then braise them—in white wine and olive oil, with a cut-up lemon, sliced onions, and garlic, some fresh tarragon or mint, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper—until tender. We serve them warm from the pot with the aromatic juices spooned on top, or as a salad as we did for lunch today: baby artichokes dressed with good olive oil and lemon served over earthy lentils.

 

 

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