Thin sliced baby artichoke hearts tossed with thin sliced mint leaves, a bit of chopped garlic, fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese makes a tasty side salad.
Baby artichokes are plentiful in spring. Artichokes are actually flower buds. You want to pick them while they are still tightly closed. A blooming artichoke is a purple thistle and not edible. The baby artichoke is least thistle-like and can be eaten without cooking.
Here are the directions to make a baby artichoke side salad for one: trim away the outer leaves and bases of 3 to 4 baby artichokes until you reach the green vegetable hearts. Place the tender hearts in water with a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and set aside.
Thinly slice a couple of mint leaves and mix them with 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Salt to taste and shave an ounce or two of Parmesan cheese into the mix to taste as well. Toss and serve.
To serve full-size artichoke hearts, cook the whole artichoke until tender, about 20 minutes depending upon the size, pull off the leaves and remove the chokes or thistles. Trim the artichoke's stem end to make it smooth and neat. Dip cooked artichokes hearts in warm butter for tasty eating!
You can enjoy artichokes at every stage of maturity through the season—that is until the buds begin to open and bloom.