How to Cook Baby Artichokes

Baby artichokes are quicker to prepare than their larger brothers and, once you're done cooking, the whole thing is edible. They aren't really immature artichokes; they come from lower on the plant or from varieties that stay small. They only need to be trimmed but can be prepared lots of ways. Raw artichokes have antioxidants and are high in nutrients, including iron, fiber, potassium and vitamins C and K. They're an economical ingredient in the spring, and you'll feel like a gourmet cook.

Squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl of cold water and drop in the lemon halves.

Pull off the outer leaves of the baby artichokes until you reach leaves that are mostly yellow. Cut the top part of the leaves off at the point where they start to turn green and discard. Finish trimming any green leaves off the stem, and trim the stem so it is flat to the base.

Cut each artichoke in half and remove any purple leaves from the inside. If the artichokes are large, cut into quarters to help them cook properly. Place the artichokes in the lemon water as you finish cutting them.

Add the trimmed artichokes to the saute pan with 1/2 cup of water. Steam 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well.

Heat the pan again over medium and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes and desired seasoning. Stirring often, saute 5 to 8 minutes, until they are just starting to brown around the edges.

Serve topped with additional lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.