The spiky leaves on an artichoke can be intimidating, but the vegetable isn't as complicated to prepare in the oven as it seems. It does take some work to get to the edible portion of the artichoke. The reward for learning to prepare an artichoke is a flavorful and nutritious vegetable dish. Artichokes are low in calories and high in fiber, antioxidants, folate and magnesium. For the best flavor in your baked artichokes, start with a vegetable that feels firm and has tightly closed leaves.
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Wash the artichokes in cold water. Scrub lightly with a vegetable brush, as they can have a film that creates a slightly bitter taste. Dry the vegetables with a clean paper towel.
Cut off the stem of the artichoke, leaving about 1 inch at the base. Cut off a 1/2-inch section from the pointed top. Pull off the small leaves near the bottom of the artichoke. Snip the pointy tips off of the remaining leaves with a pair of kitchen scissors.
Cut the artichokes in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the choke of the vegetable, which is a hairy section in the middle of the artichoke. Only remove the fuzzy choke area and not the meaty heart that is right below it. Remove the small, translucent, sometimes purple-tipped leaves just above the choke, leaving the larger leaves intact. Brush the artichoke with lemon juice to preserve its color.
Stir together the olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley in a bowl. Place the artichokes in a baking dish with the cut sides up. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the artichokes, pressing them into the vegetable. Drizzle the artichokes with additional oil, if desired.
Pour water into the bottom of the dish to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Bake the artichokes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the artichokes when they are browned and tender when poked along the base with a skewer or fork.