Meltingly soft artichokes, simply dressed with a bit of parsley, olive oil, red onion and lemon. Simple, rustic and oh, so satisfying. They’re good enough to be a meal all on their own.
Choose a small to medium size artichoke for this recipe. Clean off the outer leaves, and if possible, keep the stem attached. As you are cleaning the artichokes, keep the cleaned ones in a bowl of acidulated water.
Use a ceramic crock pot, enamel lined iron pan like Crueset, or a stainless steel pan, and arrange the artichokes in the pan. Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to completely cover the artichokes. Add 1-2 cloves of garlic to the stock. Cover tightly and gently simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
Note on the pan: do not use aluminum or cast iron pots as they will discolor the artichokes in a really nasty way.
There a zillion variations on a braised artichoke, but keep it simple because the flavor of the artichoke is fairly delicate.
Here are four tasty variations:
1) Simply dress with olive oil, chopped parsley, lemon juice and thin slivers of red onion.
2) Remove the artichokes from the pan, and arrange on a serving plate.Reduce the cooking liquid down to 1-2 tablespoons. Add a good sized knob of butter to the pan and swirl until melted. Finish with fresh squeezed lemon juice and pour over the warm artichokes.
3) Make a dressing of smashed anchovy, lemon, finely minced garlic, fresh parsley and a pinch of oregano. Pour a puddle of the dressing into individual serving bowls and top with a braised artichoke.
4) Make a dressing of finely minced red onion, coarsely chopped capers, olive oil and lemon juice, serve over a piping hot braised artichoke.
Wine & Artichokes
Artichokes are notoriously difficult to pair with wine because they contain the phenolic acid ‘cynarin’. It suppresses the bitter taste receptors in the tongue, so anything consumed directly after eating an artichoke will taste sweeter.
Try pairing your artichokes with a very dry, flinty white wine like a Verdicchio, Tocai Friuliano or a Pinot Gris. A very young red wine, like a Cabernet Franc may also do the trick. We had a rose` with ours that worked very well, unfortunately it was in an unmarked bottle and we have no idea where it came from! One of the downsides of buying wine in bulk...maybe if we had a better labeling system....
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