Have fun with this by experimenting with different spice combinations and potencies. We serve our artichokes as a springtime appetizer with the Backbone sauce for dipping.
- 6 small artichokes
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 10 juniper berries
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 star anise
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (add more if you like the heat)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
Choose only firm, young, small and unspotted artichokes. These will have the best flavor. Trim off the stem, and use kitchen shears or scissors to cut the spiky points off the outside leaves. Rinse them under cold water. You can run a cut lemon over the outside of the artichokes to prevent the cut leaves from turning brown during cooking.
Place the artichokes in a deep, heavy pot and cover them with water. Toss in all the spices and the garlic. Cook them, partially covered, at a gentle boil until the leaves are easy to pull away. This will take about 40 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the water, leaving the bits of spices that are clinging to them. You can serve these warm or chilled, depending on your preference. It also works to cook them in advance of when you plan to serve, and then put them back into boiling water to reheat.