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Baby Artichokes with Olive Oil, Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

Serves 4 to 6

I love artichokes, especially the baby varieties. They are a delicious side dish and very easy to prepare. You do not have to worry about removing the fibrous chokes in the center and, unlike large artichokes, once you get rid of the outer layer of leaves, they are completely edible. Unfortunately, they are not available all year long like large artichokes. Normally, you will only find them in spring when they are in season. Of course, that is when they are at their best. This recipe can be made in any amount needed.

Ingredients

To prepare the artichokes, remove the darker outer leaves by bending them back until they snap off. Peel the stems but leave intact as they are edible. Cut off about 1/3 of the top of the artichoke and discard. Cut in half vertically and place immediately in a medium bowl of water to which at least 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice has been added. This will prevent the artichokes from browning.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic. Drain the artichokes and add to the pan. Season with the oregano, salt and pepper; toss well. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook until artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes. Check occasionally and add a little more water if needed. When done, remove the lid and continue to cook until all of the water has evaporated. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and let set until it has melted. Serve immediately. (These are also very good at room temperature.)