Small violet and baby artichokes from Italy and France are starting to appear around now; and they don't need any preparation, apart from just cooking. When they are really young and tender you can even slice them thinly and eat them raw.
6-8 baby artichokes
3-4tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few sprigs of rosemary
For the sauce
8-10 anchovy fillets chopped
2tbsp capers, rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2tbsp olive oil
The juice of half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Trim a layer of the outer leaves from the artichokes and any discoloured stem but leave the rest of the stem on.
Bring a pan of boiling salted water to the boil and cook the artichokes for 6-7 minutes, then drain in a colander.
Leave to cool a little then halve them, place them in a roasting tray with the sprigs of rosemary and spoon over the olive oil.
Season and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning every so often until they are just crisp but not coloured too much.
Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, pound up the anchovies, capers and garlic or blend in a food processor to a coarse purée, then whisk in the olive oil and lemon and make a smooth sauce. Serve the artichokes with the sauce separately.