braised baby artichokes

i’m sorry if i’m boring you, but i introduce you to yet another vegetable i love: artichokes. they remind me of lovely evenings spent in france, outside under the pergola, drinking cool, icy rosé wine and eating baguette while watching the sea and enjoying the presence of your loved ones. those are the good nights. you should make sure to get as many of these as possible.

braised baby artichoke heart (carciofi)
12 baby artichokes
3 lemons
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot, chopped
1 cup flat parsley and/or mint, thinly chopped
1 cup white wine or alternatively 1 shot of noilly prat
1 cup vegetable broth
1 drop harissa or sriraccha hot sauce
1 small piece of peperoncino, minced
1/2 tsp. honey
olive oil
fleur de sel
freshly ground black pepper

fill a pot with cold water. slice two lemons, squeeze a bit of the juice into the water and place the slices in it. wash the artichokes. now it’s important: take a pair of rubber gloves (iewww… i know, disgusting) – they will prevent you from getting really grubby looking, black fingers from peeling the artichokes. peel the hard, outer leaves off the artichokes and chop the tops of the leaves off (about one third from the top) and trim off any remaining hard parts from the base. cut in quarters, working quickly. now take the ‘hay’ out in the middle of the artichoke. drain the artichoke quarters in the lemony water to prevent them from oxidizing and turning dark.

heat some olive in a large frying pan. pat the artichokes dry and fry them for about two minutes, slightly charring them. add the onion, garlic and peperoncino and fry for another minute. deglaze with the white wine or the noilly prat (we didn’t have one around, neither wine (to cook) nor noilly prat. so we just went with some broth. but believe me: noilly prat is really, really lovely with artichokes, hmm…). add a few drops of lemon, a drop of harissa and the honey, and season with salt and pepper. braise for about 3-5 more minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. sprinkle with chopped parsley and/or fresh mint and serve tepid. for example with baguette and salted butter. or on top of a nice pasta. or simply with an ice cold rosé wine. yes, i like.

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