If I’m buying artichokes, it’s almost always because I intend to devour the whole thing—leaves, heart, and stem—with melted butter. But I can appreciate that there are times you’d like to use the hearts for another purpose, and for those times, this recipe is here for you.
Years ago, Tara Duggan mentioned roasting artichoke leaves, and the idea stuck in my subconscious until recently when I had a dream about artichoke nachos and woke up determined to make them. (Don’t make me feel weird, tell me this happens to you, too?) —Lindsay-Jean Hard
a sheet pan's worth
feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
2 to 3 ounces
sliced black olives (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
Bring a large pot of water to boil and heat the oven to 375° F.
While the water comes to a boil, remove all of the tough outer green leaves from the artichokes, these will be your nachos. Don't rush through this task (you'll risk ripping off the tender, tasty parts at the bottom of the leaves), but don't take the time to worry about sorting through them at this point. Stop once you get to the leaves that are directly above the heart, the ones that a little lighter in color and floppier—they aren't sturdy enough for nachos. (It goes without saying to save the artichoke stems and hearts for another purpose, right? Good.)
Add the artichoke leaves to the boiling water and cook until the ends are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Test one to make sure and then drain.
While the artichoke leaves are cooking, make the lemony cheater's aioli: With the side of a knife, smash the garlic clove. Sprinkle it with a pinch of sea salt. Alternate chopping and smashing it again with the side of the knife until it turns into garlic paste. Whisk together the garlic paste, lemon juice, and mayonnaise. Now taste it! This is important, since mayos are different. If you used a more vinegary one, you might need a pinch of sugar to round it out, or if needs a little more tang, add a touch more lemon juice.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (optional, but makes for easier clean up), and start placing the artichoke leaves on the pan in a single layer, insides facing up, so they're cup-shaped, ready to hold toppings. (This is the time to sort through the leaves as you place them, discarding any particularly gnarly looking ones, or ones missing their tender tasty ends).
Sprinkle the feta and black olives across the leaves and bake just long enough to heat everything through and let the feta get soft and a little slumpy, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, dollop with the cheater's aioli, and top with black pepper if desired. Eat, scraping off the toppings and the tender part of the leaves with your teeth.