|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Artichokes are naturally delicious, so there's no need to add lots of ingredients or prepare them using a complex method. A favorite way to enjoy this nutritious thistle is by simply steaming the whole artichoke and serving with lemon halves and drawn butter or mayonnaise. Although this is traditionally done on the stovetop, tender and delicious artichokes can also be made by roasting in the oven. When each artichoke is wrapped tightly in foil and baked, they essentially steam, concentrating the flavors and resulting in easy-to-pull-off leaves and a soft inner choke. Serve these artichokes any way you like—hot, warm, or chilled.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Tear off 4 large square pieces of heavy-duty foil.
Using a serrated knife, cut off the stem of the artichoke where it meets the base. Turn the artichoke around and cut off 1 inch of the top. Quickly rub each artichoke with a cut lemon to keep them from discoloring.
Rub a few drops of olive oil on each piece of foil and place an artichoke stem-side down on top. Stick a clove of garlic into the center of each artichoke and push down an inch or so.
Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top of each artichoke. Finish by squeezing the half lemon over the top. The lemon juice will "wash" the salt and olive oil down in between the leaves.
Gather up the corners of the foil and press together on top to tightly seal the artichoke (like a chocolate kiss). You can wrap around a second piece of foil if you don't think you have a tight enough seal. Repeat with the other artichokes.
Place foil-wrapped artichokes in a roasting pan and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Let rest for 20 minutes before unwrapping. Serve hot, or allow to cool or chill before serving.
All About Artichokes
Artichokes are loaded with nutrition, but aside from their value as a food, they are a thing of beauty in nature. The artichoke is actually the very large bud of a type of thistle that grows to be 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Artichoke buds that are not harvested bloom as violet-blue flowers. No wonder the artichoke is one of the most visually appealing plants there is and is often used as creative kitchen or table decor.
But let's not forget about enjoying them at mealtime, as well as their nutritional value. The artichoke packs a powerful punch; this beautiful plant contains an abundance of antioxidants, some of which are good for the vascular system. They also fight inflammation, help to protect against heart disease and cancer, and lower cholesterol. Just one artichoke contains about 10 grams of fiber—roughly half the recommended daily amount for women and a third for men—more than other high fiber foods like beans, prunes, avocado, oats, and nuts. Artichokes are also high in potassium, essential for maintaining electrolyte balance and keeping blood pressure in the normal range, as well as vitamin K and folic acid, which promote a long list of health benefits.