Castrati or Baby Artichokes

Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About
Artichokes are Mediterranean in origin and, while they are now common enough in supermarkets and available all year round, baby artichokes — which are quaintly called castrati in Italy and picked before a choke has formed - are harder to come by. Their European season is from April to early June and they make a delicious simple first course. They are available brined in tins and jars, which are actually quite good but expensive.
To prepare baby artichokes, first pull off and discard the outer leaves to reveal the pale inner leaves. Cut off the top half of the globe and all but about 2 cm/¾ in of stalk, peeling what is left. To prevent discoloration, put them into a bowl of water acidulated with lemon juice or vinegar until ready to cook.