Whenever we're in Spain early enough in the spring, we go to the old Madrid tavern La Trucha and order alcachofas a la plancha--artichokes pan-fried in olive oil. It's the simplest way I know of to prepare fresh artichokes, and one of the best. It does require tender "baby" artichokes, which are rarely available here in Central Florida, but last fall a kind gardening friend gave me an artichoke seedling. I raised it in a split-barrel container, and now we're harvesting beautiful little artichokes and enjoying tapas of alcachofas a la plancha here too.
Here's how to do it.
Fresh artichokes (Small, tender artichokes are best for this.)
Heat up a pan.
Trim the artichokes minimally, removing only the hard pointed tips, if any.
Rub them with lemon juice as you work to prevent them from turning black. The touch of lemon also brings out the full flavor of the artichokes.
Cut the artichoke into 1/4 inch slices.
Rub the slices with the lemon. If you see a fuzzy "choke" inside, cut it out, but if the artichokes are small, you usually don't have to worry about it.
Pour a little olive oil in the hot pan. Add the artichoke slices. Pan-fry them for 2 or 3 minutes per side, or until tender. If they get a bit crisp at the edges, they're even better.
Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.