For one of Debbie and Phil's recent Gr8 Dinners, Renaissance Faire…an evening of merriment, I was assigned a side dish of braised artichokes. Now, I LOVE artichokes, but I don't make them as often as I should. So I immediately went searching for the perfect recipe.
This recipe comes from Maggie Ruggiero and was published in Gourmet magazine's November 2008 issue. It is labor intensive, but totally worth the effort, especially if you are an artichoke lover!
Lemon and Olive Oil Braised Artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 8 medium artichokes
- 3 small shallots,, sliced into thin rings
- 1 carrot,, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic,, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil,, divided
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 strips lemon zest
- 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice,, divided
- 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Prepare the artichokes ~
- Add cold water to a large bowl, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water. Put the lemon halves into the water.
- Trim the artichokes almost down to their hearts by cutting 1-inch off the top. Then snap the leaves off until you get to the pale yellow leaves. (See my idea below for the leftover leaves.)
- Cut cross-wise at the bottom of the yellow leaves so you only have the artichoke base remaining on the stem.
- Use a paring knife to trim the dark green off of the stem and artichoke bottom. The stem should now show pale yellow.
- Once each artichoke is trimmed in this manner, put it into the lemon water so they don’t discolor. Continue with remaining artichokes.
Prepare the braise ~
- Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat (4 to 5 quarts) until the oil is shimmery. The pan needs to be able to hold all the artichokes in a single layer.
- Add the shallots, carrot, garlic, fennel and coriander seeds and cook until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the 1 ½ cups of water, lemon zest, and 3 Tablespoons of the lemon juice. Then bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Put the artichokes upside down into the shallot mixture so the stems are standing up.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cover the artichokes with a sheet of wax paper. Place the lid on the pot and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. The bases should be tender, test them with a knife.
- Remove the artichokes from the liquid and let them cool. Let the liquid cool separately.
- Once cooled, cut the artichokes in half lengthwise, then scoop out the fuzzy choke and discard. (Make sure any remaining sharp leaves are also removed.)
- In a large heavy skillet (I like to use my 12-inch cast iron pan) heat 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmery.
- Place half of the artichokes with the cut sides down in the hot oil and cook until golden brown.
- Remove from the oil and repeat with the second half of the artichokes, about 2 minutes per batch.
- Place the browned artichoke hearts into your serving dish.
- Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the reserved cooking liquid and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley. Then pour this mixture over the artichokes in the serving dish.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Gr8 Do-Ahead Tip:The artichokes can be braised 1 day ahead and chilled in their cooking liquid. Reheat to warm before proceeding.
Gr8 Tip for the Leaves:I did not want to throw out all of the gorgeous, plump leaves that I had trimmed from the artichokes, it seemed such a waste! So I piled them on my steamer rack in a saucepan and steamed them. Then I just made a delicious aioli using Sir Kensington's yummy mayonnaise and served them as an appetizer!