Baby Artichokes: Pan to Plate Goodness

Purple Petite Artichokes ~ A Stack of Dishes.comIt might be ridiculous to think of oneself as an urban hunter and gatherer, but from time to time this is what I do. Bored with what I typically see in my pantry or market, I will go in search of a new or unfamiliar ingredient. Sometimes this expedition takes me hither and yon to the deepest darkest parts of NYC, but sometimes I’ll simply dig around the shelves in my “around the corner” market. Often tucked away in the Imported area there can be some amazing sauces, grains, or food stuffs that are languishing on shelves, waiting for an intrepid cook to give it a go.

This past week I went on such a trip downtown to a fruit and vegetable store that occasionally stocks a variety of foods not typically seen at local markets. I was actually on the hunt for some peppers that I had gotten a hook onto, but instead came away with these bitty baby artichokes (and some mushrooms you’ll see later this week).

The inside of petite purple artichokes ~ A Stack of Dishes.comI spotted the artichokes as I came around the corner. They were piled in a soft mound in a cardboard flat at the end of the row, with a hand written scratch of a paper tucked in amongst the pods reporting the name and price. It was the color that struck me at first. That beautiful deep purple that few vegetables really behold. Often artichokes can sport tinges of the aubergine, but usually just a tinge, and then only on the tips. The color on these were rich, velvety, and regal in color, with hidden buds of bright green coming from the centers of some- very sexy and alluring.

 The second thing was their adorable petiteness.  When I say bitty, I mean bitty. I had never seen such small artichokes before. I was able to put 5 of them easily into one hand. 

cuthandI had no idea what they would yield. For a typical artichoke it requires peeling layers of outer leaves to get to the tender heart- about ~20% of the whole size of the fruit. Since they were so small I suspected that they might be tender enough to eat almost all of it once cooked. I had no idea, but after all, that’s part of the fun. Regardless- they were too gorgeous to pass up.

Peeled purple artichokes ~ A Stack of Dishes.comThis past week I’ve also been reading a book about the art and history of Gregorian Chants. There are delightful passages about the breathtaking wonder of simple chant- or single voice chanting. You can hear the echoing tones of devoted monks singing in unison, creating a holy vibration of music. I am not Catholic, nor religious, but it’s not hard to image divinity in such moments as those.

This has put me squarely in the Italian frame of mind, more specifically the quiet perfection of simplicity well executed to create supreme beauty- or in the case of my artichokes- deliciousness.

Sauteed Baby Artichokes ~ A Stack of Dishes.comAfter peeling the toughest leaves back, trimming and splitting in two- I simply sautéed them in olive oil, garlic and a hearty squeeze of lemon juice. As it turns out I was correct. There was enough tenderness to make almost the entire artichoke edible. The taste was not fully the traditional quality of artichokes, it was more vegetal- and supremely enjoyable.

I served them up with some Speck (smoked prosciutto), fruits and nuts and a hunk of crusty bread- nothing more complicated than that.

And that’s all it takes, to make my heart (and maybe the angels of Rome) sing.

Antipasti Plate with Baby Artichokes ~A Stack of

Sauteed Baby Artichokes
This recipe can be adapted to any size artichokes you find, just be sure to peel back enough leaves to get to the tenderest leaves. Serves 4 as an appetizer.
337 calories
63 g
0 g
8 g
19 g
1 g
610 g
564 g
7 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 337
Calories from Fat 68
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 564mg
Total Carbohydrates 63g
Dietary Fiber 31g
Sugars 7g
Protein 19g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 15-20 baby artichokes
  2. 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  3. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  5. pinch of salt
  1. Trim the outer leaves of the artichokes until you reach tender leaves. For the larger I trimmed the tough top ends. Trim the dried out ends of the stems.
  2. Cut in half and put into cool water that has a squeeze of lemon juice in it to prevent browning.
  3. In a saute pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Drain the artichokes then add them along with the garlic to the pan.
  4. Saute for 3 minutes until the garlic is golden, then add 2 Tablespoons of water to the pan and cover- allowing steam to build up inside. Cook for an additional 2 minutes then remove the lid. Test to see if the artichokes are tender by piercing with a sharp knife. Add more water and steam longer if necessary.
  5. When the artichokes are tender, add the lemon juice and toss along with the salt until warmed through.
  1. May be prepared ahead of time, but I prefer to serve them warm.
A Stack of Dishes




  1. gorgeous! i’m into simple mediteranean style dinners too lately. yesterday we had spanish anchovies, home marinated black olives, cheese with dill mustard and some home baked bread. if i can find baby artichokes around here i’ll definitely give this a try!

  2. Very cool! I have never had baby artichokes, but this recipe looks delicious. Definitely want to try them 🙂

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  3. Adorbs!!! Look how tiny! I happened upon some quail eggs this week at the butcher and i can’t bring myself to cook them – they look like they’re about the same size as your artichokes and just so cute. so, so cute. Great find!!

    • Gail Watson says:

      Kristy- the chokes are a wee bit larger than the eggs, but not by much. I did a post about them about a year ago. Only takes about 90 seconds to make soft boiled quail eggs (fyi). Thanks for your comment-G

  4. Love baby artichokes. Any artichoke. I’m gonna keep my eye out for these. Beautiful pictures……

  5. It took me a while to get over how much waste there is in prepping artichokes. This looks delicious!

  6. Nice find, and the pictures are fabulous! I like artichokes but have only eaten the traditional kind. These are small but makes for a good tapas style plate.

  7. LOVE your serving idea! We love Fiesole Baby Purple Artichokes around here at Frieda’s Specialty Produce. They’re our “babies”! 😉 As a matter of fact, I cooked some up for our sales team yesterday. Yours look better though. LOL

  8. Love this recipe! I included it on my roundup on my blog. Check it out!


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