Spring Fling: Baby Artichokes

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I couldn’t be more excited about this weeks celebration of spring fling! We are cooking up lots of different recipes using artichokes.

Recently I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with baby artichokes. I don’t know if I was living in a cave or what – but when I first discovered them at the farmers market I was thrilled! And then when the farmers told them they are WAY easier to clean than regular artichokes – I was hooked. I am a sucker for a good artichoke – but cleaning them, removing the heart, blah blah blah – it just seems like a lot of work. Well these little baby artichokes are way easier to clean, there is no removal of the artichoke heart and after you peel back a few layers and trim the ends, well, you can eat the whole thing! wooohoo

My favorite way to cook baby artichokes is sautéing them in a little olive oil with lots of garlic, pancetta, lemon zest and lemon juice. They make the perfect side dish as they compliment a variety of proteins and they have tons of flavor.

Let’s take a quick look on how to prep these little morsels of goodness:

First you just need to peel back the few outer layers until you can see the more tender leaves underneath. Gently remove the outer leaves and discard.

Trim the bottom of the artichoke and discard.

Trim the top 1/2 of the artichoke and discard that too! And then when you are done with that you should have a baby artichoke that looks like this!

You can saute them whole like this or cut them in halves or quarters depending on what you fancy!

Now comes the good part! You’re going to crisp up some pancetta and using the fat from the pancetta and a tad bit of olive oil if needed, saute the baby artichokes until they are almost tender! Throw in lots of garlic, lemon zest and juice and add the pancetta back to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and…. ta-da… you’re ready to eat!

Spring Fling: Baby Artichokes

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 lbs Baby Artichokes
  • 4 oz pancetta roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 lemon zested
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • To prep the baby artichokes, peel back the outer layers of the artichoke and remove. Trim the top and the bottom of the artichoke and then cut the artichoke in half, set into a bowl of acidulated water until ready to use.
  • In a large skillet warm the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the browned pancetta and set aside.
  • Add the prepped baby artichokes to the same skillet and saute for 7-9 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and lemon zest and saute for about 2 minutes more until the garlic is fragrant. Add the juice of a lemon and the crisped pancetta and mix around. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spring Fling 2011 is a five-week celebration of all things Spring with Margaret from A Way to Garden, Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, and Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple, Shauna and Danny of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Nicole from Pinch My Salt, some fantastic people from Food Network and Cooking Channel and myself!

Here’s what the rest of the 2011 Spring Fling Schedule looks like:

Weds April 20th: Asparagus

Weds May 4th: Rhubarb

Weds May 18th: Artichokes

Weds June 1st: Strawberries (Bring on the strawberry cocktails – this one’s taking place on my 25th birthday!!)

Weds June 15th: Peas

And the best part about Spring Fling is everyone gets to join in, click around and share your tips and recipes for the fabulous spring produce we are featuring!

So here’s how it works:

Go ahead and leave your tips/recipes/and favorite links in the comments below my Spring Fling post! Then click around to the other collaborators and do the same. Share your love for the recipe everywhere that way everyone gets to see it and join in on the conversation!!

Roberto at Food2: The Art of the Artichoke

Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Artichoke Recipe Roundup

Kirsten at FN Dish: Spring Fling: Artichokes

Dana at Healthy Eats: All About Artichokes

Diane and Todd at White On Rice Couple: Grilled Artichoke Stems

Roberto at Cooking Channel: Artichoke Appetizers

Jaden at Steamy Kitchen: Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Tomatoes


  1. gaby, these are BEAUTIFUL! i’ve never seen baby artichokes and never actually had fresh artichokes at all. i think that needs to change ASAP, don’t you? especially if pancetta and garlic are involved!

  2. Gaby they look great and EVERY blog I have gone to, well tons, in the past 24 hrs have all made artichokes or baby chokes. It’s helping me get over my fear of ruining them, which is normal for me and artichokes. haha! 🙂

  3. I am growing artichokes, but now I will have to look for the baby variety. These look delicious! Such an awesome plant.

  4. I love artichokes. I love less prep. Therefore, I will LOVE this baby artichoke recipe! Thank you so much for the step by step pictures and the lovely ideas! You ARE the best.

  5. I love this post. Pancetta, artichokes and lemon zest a perfect simple side dish. I’ll share this one with my Italian aunt, she’s always using fresh artichokes in her recipes!
    Glad to hear the Bake Sale was a success, I’m sorry I couldn’t pull something together last minute. Didn’t realize there’d be so much red tape in my community. My friends and I were disappointed that no one wanted to host it (because baked goods/treats would be made in a non licensed kitchens). Next year definitely I’ll pull something nice together, and this way I’ll have more time to organize it and promote it.

  6. The purple color above is truly breathtaking. I LOVE your Spring Fling idea! I’m going to the farmers market Sat and trying out a few of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    Would love to share some artichoke recipes with your wonderful readers….Check out:




    Hope your readers enjoy! I’m definitely returning for Strawberries….can’t wait.

    Thanks, Gaby!

  7. As a super practical cook, I enjoy the sweet flesh of artichokes the simplest way I can — steamed, with a yummy, easy dip: http://getcookingsimply.com/?p=2702
    Artichokes are plentiful here in coastal northern California. With our cool spring this year, they are still available at local farmers markets and grocery stores. Not all that common for late May.

  8. I’m living in that same cave – how cool are these baby artichokes?! I only just got comfortable with the regular kind in the past month. 🙂 Will definitely keep my eye out for these at the farmer’s market.

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