Although I am not expecting the end times to ramp into high gear come 6 o’clock this evening, I do like to consider what the world would be like if we no longer had electricity, gas, running water, the internet. (Oh, life without internet.) Sometimes I’ll follow this trajectory a ways, fancying myself an amateur survivalist (watch me construct a log cabin and forage all my food!) and imagining some kind of simpler (harder) life.
As a kid, I was fascinated by my mom’s Foxfire books, which bill themselves as a guide to plain living but are something of an unintentional survivalist manual. They were produced by a bunch of high school students in rural Georgia in the late 1960s, underperforming kids who, at the encouragement of their young and enthusiastic teacher, went up into the Appalachian woods of their grandparents and started asking them how things were done back in the old days. The cover is a stark, plain cream with brown text that states: “hog dressing, log cabin building, mountain crafts and foods … faith healing, moonshining and other affairs of plain living.” Apocalypse or no, my tattered copy of Foxfire is on the short list of items to grab when that proverbial house is burning down.
All of this, of course, has nothing to do with this lovely, straightforward recipe for baby artichokes, unless you were of a mind to go forage some of your own. But let’s just switch gears and assume that we will have supermarkets, farmer’s markets, electricity and all the other wonders of contemporary life when tomorrow rolls around. Baby artichokes are worth celebration. Roasted this way, they’re just a little bit less finicky than their grown-up brethren, because a far greater portion of the artichoke is edible in its young, tender state. Paired with tender, sweet onion scapes, this is the epitome of fine spring living. Now go on and enjoy your produce before the world ends.
This Roasted Artichokes with Onion Scapes recipe is part of The May Seasonal Food Guide.
ROASTED BABY ARTICHOKES WITH ONION SCAPES, THYME AND PARMESAN
Serves 4 as an appetizer
12-14 baby artichokes
1 cup onion scapes, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt + pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a large, nonreactive bowl with water and squeeze the juice of one lemon into it, throwing the lemons in as well. (You’ll dunk the artichokes in here so they don’t discolor.)
Using a sharp knife, slice the top one half to one inch off each artichoke. Peel away the tough outer leaves until you reach the tender inner leaves. Slice in half lengthwise, remove the inner fuzz with a spoon if needed, and dunk in the lemon water. Continue with all artichokes. When they’re all ready, drain.
Toss the artichokes with the onion scapes, olive oil, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on a baking sheet.
Roast for about 20-25 minutes, checking halfway, until the artichokes are tender.
Remove from the oven and finish with shaved parmesan cheese.