It's no secret that one of my favorite vegetables of spring (and of all time) are artichokes. My artichoke obsession started at a young age because my mom used to make big batches of stuffed globe artichokes and keep them around as snacks for us for when we got home from school. Not your usual after school snack, but I am thankful that she was more inclined to feed us vegetables as snacks instead of junk. Don't get me wrong, I ate my fair share of fruit roll ups, but if you gave me the choice between the artichoke and the fruit roll up I would have always chosen the artichoke.
I used to think artichokes were limited to being stuffed with italian bread crumbs and steamed, but since I have made it a point to make a new artichoke recipe for the blog every single year, I've learned that artichokes may have more versatility than you'd probably think. These marinated and grilled artichokes were my gateway into alternative artichoke recipes, and still remain one of my favorites. Last year I got real wild with this artichoke and smashed pea dish which is more of a meal than an app or a snack. This year I wanted to revisit the baby artichokes, because it's been a while since I've made them, and I forgot how much I love these little flavor bombs.
A few things that I know for sure, artichokes love lemon, and lemon loves garlic, and lemon + garlic love olive oil … AND lemon, garlic + olive oil love salt + pepper, so if you make sure your artichoke involves some kind of lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper combo you are winning.
So with that, gremolata was the first thing that came to mind. Gremolata is a fancy Italian word for a condiment with lemon zest, fresh garlic, and parsley. In other words, it's basically a bomb of flavors that was meant to be sprinkled over roasted baby artichokes. Flavor bomb plus flavor bomb …and …… there is a lot of things adding up in this recipe, all of which will be really good (and I haven't even mentioned the lemon za'atar yogurt yet which just send this over the moon). So let's just go and make all the baby artichokes and sprinkle them with gremolata and dip them in za'atar yogurt until spring turns into summer and there are no more artichokes to be eaten.
roasted baby artichokes with gremolata + a za'atar lemon yogurt
MAKES about 2 dozen baby artichokes
for the artichokes:
about 12 baby artichokes
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
salt + pepper
for the gremolata:
a small handful of parsley, minced
1 large garlic clove
the zest of 1 lemon
for the za'atar lemon yogurt:
7 oz of plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of za'atar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
a pinch of salt
about a tablespoon of chives, chopped (optional)
Make the gremolata:
- In a small bowl, add the minced parsley. Then, using a microplane, grate the garlic clove over the parsley (mince the remaining garlic that gets too small to grate). Zest the lemon over the parsley and garlic, and the give it a stir to combine. Set it aside until you're ready to use.
Make the za'atar yogurt:
- In a small-medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the yogurt, and stir to combine. Cover it and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
Prep + roast the artichokes:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400º.
- Prepare a medium sized bowl with water, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and some ice. This will keep the artichokes from oxidizing.
- Pull off and discard the dark green outer leaves until you get to the tender, inner yellow ones. Cut off the top 1/4 inch (where the prickly bits are). Trim the bottom of the stem. Then, using a paring knife, shave off the rough edges around the base of the artichoke. Slice the artichoke in half and place it in the bowl of lemon water. Repeat until all of the artichokes are done.
- Drain the artichokes from the water and place on a small baking sheet. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
- Bake them for 15 minutes. Remove then and flip them over, and then bake for other 5-10 minutes until they are tender and crispy.
Assemble and serve:
- Place the artichokes in a bowl and sprinkle the gremolata over them. Serve immediately (warm) with the yogurt.