I love these easy artichokes for a picnic. They are wonderful at room temperature and can easily be eaten with your fingers. The medium artichokes are often less expensive than the babies or the globes--they require slightly more work but are definitely worth the effort. —NWB
Fill a bowl with tap water. Squeeze half a lemon into the bowl and then put that half in the water. Also fill a pot with water. One artichoke at a time: cut the top (about an inch) off; cut in half; remove the darker outer leaves; remove hairy choke with a spoon/knife; clean the stalk if any is edible. Rub the artichoke with lemon and throw it in the bowl of water. Half way through turn on the stove and bring the the water to a boil. Add salt, 1/2 of the red pepper and two halves of lemon (squeeze into water first) to the pot.
When the artichokes are clean and the water is boiling cook them for 10 minutes. While artichokes are cooking chop a big handful of mint and cut another lemon in half. Remove from water and dry off.
In a cast iron skillet heat the butter until it hot. Add the artichokes, in batches if necessary, cut side down and cook for one to two minutes, or until browned. Turn over and cook for 30 seconds to a minute.
Remove artichokes from pan into a mixing bowl. Add mint, the remaining red pepper flakes, salt, and the juice of half a lemon and toss until the artichokes are well coated.
Let them cool to room temperature before packing them up for the picnic.