As I wrote in my previous post, spring kicks off artichoke season, and although I love them best just boiled and served with a dipping sauce of lemon and olive oil, this recipe I adapted from Alice Water’s book, The Art of Simple Food is quickly becoming a favorite. It’s uncomplicated and really satisfying for artichoke lovers. It's an easy recipe for delicious artichokes simply braised with white wine and a few aromatics for flavor.
For this recipe I used my beautiful purple Violetto artichokes right out of my garden, but any type will be tasty cooked this way.
You Will Need
2 Medium or large artichokes, green globe or other type
1 Small onion, diced
2 Cloves of garlic, or 2 stalks green garlic
2 - 4 Sprigs of fresh thyme (Lemon Thyme is extra good in this)
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup water
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
Makes 2 - 4 servings
Saute the Onions and Garlic
Dice the onion and trim the green garlic by removing tough outer leaves. Slice it lengthwise in quarters. Rinse the sprigs of thyme and pat dry.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a wide heavy bottomed pot (you’ll use the lid later). Add the onions, garlic, and sprigs of thyme. Saute over gentle heat until they are soft, being careful not to burn, about 5 minutes.
Prepare the Artichokes
While the onions and garlic are sautéing, prepare the artichokes by rinsing well under cold water. Cut the top third of the artichokes off with a sharp knife, and remove the tough outer leaves of each artichoke by snapping them off.
How many leaves should you remove?
Here's the thing: you can leave some of the large leaves on, or remove them until you reach the tender light green leaves in the center. It's a matter of preference. The tough leaves will have to be eaten as finger food. If you prefer, use only the tender center of the artichoke, which can be eaten with a knife and fork. I can’t bear to waste perfectly edible leaves, so I don’t mind having to pick off the tough leaves with my fingers to eat the meaty base of each leaf, one by one.
Trim the stems by peeling off the stringy surface layer. Next, cut the artichoke down the middle lengthwise, and cut each half once again so it’s in wedges. For large artichokes you can cut them again (into eights). Scrape out the choke with a spoon (or carefully cut it out with your knife) or remove it after cooking.
As you work, rub the cut sides with fresh lemon juice so that they won’t turn brown.
Braise the Artichokes
After the onions and garlic are soft, add the artichokes (cut sides down) to the pan and cook for a few minutes (3 – 5 minutes). Add the water and wine and cover the pan with the lid. Cook gently until the artichokes are tender through the thickest part at the base (about 10- 15 minutes). Check them at 10 minutes to make sure there is still some liquid left- if needed add a bit more water or wine. They should be moist and have a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce left when done.
Serve and Enjoy
Serve the braised wedges by spooning the onions and sauce over them, and with wedge of lemon. This is wonderful as a side dish or an appetizer, either warm or cold. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Add fresh fava beans or freshly shelled peas to the sauté when adding the artichokes; use sliced leeks instead of onion.
See my recipe for spring artichoke salad.
Photos: Patricia Larenas, Urban Artichoke