braised artichokes II

my regular readers have probably found out about my serious artichoke fondness… it’s beyond normal. i’d happily embrace a meal consisting of only some braised artichokes and nothing else. not even desert (if i must).
to rationalise it, i like to tell myself there is probably something really, really healthy in them. like, i don’t know, folic something? or antioxidants! blabla. so when i spotted these pretty, dark purple, baby ones some time back, i had to get them. even though i was alone at home. with not really much planned, either, except maybe staying in and doing a bit of household chores (you know, good person as i am…). 
preparing these babies is actually just as much fun as eating them. you will have to slip into rubber gloves (okay, maybe not so endearing…) to prevent yourself from getting black fingers and nails. and you’ll have to stand by the stove while they are, first, charr-grilling* and, then, braising*. it’s fun and it makes you dizzy. enjoy it while it lasts! 
so here’s yet another of these super beautiful and super yummy globes, with what basically is the same production process (first one to be found here). sorry, i stick to routines sometimes. but you’ll find a few tweaks, i’m sure.
braised artichokes II
16 baby artichokes (or fewer bigger ones)
2 lemons
3 shallots, minced
4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 green, medium spiced chile
1 tsp. fennel seeds
3 bay leaves
1 rosmary twig, needles minced
1/2 cup noilly prat (or other vermouth) (note: i’m sometimes more generous… i like to hiccup)
1 cup vegetable broth or stock with water
olive oil
fleur de sel
freshly ground black pepper
start by filling a bucket or your sink with ice cold water. half the lemon, squeeze some of the juice into the bucket with water and let the two halves remain in the water. prepare the artichokes one by one: peel off the outer, too hard to eat leaves, trim the stems and a bit of the top off the leaves. half and, with a pointy knife, peel out the inner hay of the artichokes. put them in the lemon-water and let sit there until all the artichokes are ready. take them out and pat them dry.
heat a frying or grill pan with enough olive oil. add the shallots, garlic, chile and fennel seeds, and sweat for 1-2 minutes. take out, i.e. put on a separate plate. then fry the artichokes in the same oil (that’s now very fragrant from the spice-mix) and grill the artichoke for a minute or so or each side until slightly charred. deglaze with the noilly prat, and inhalte deeply. like what you smell. cook on full heat until liquid is slightly reduced. then add the broth or water with stock, the bay leaves, rosmary, a generous pinch of salt and the pepper. now reduce the heat and braise for 4-5 minutes, or longer, if desired (i like my artichokes with a tiny bit of bite). the liquid should be almost reduced to nothing, again. take the artichokes out of the pan, add a generous squeeze of lemon, some more olive oil, if needed (or if you want to store it in the fridge for later use – which i never seem to manage), and either enjoy while still warm or serve cold as a snack.
* note: are these actual verbs? can they be verbified? do you understand what i’m, not english native girl from the really small country switzerland, saying? i sure hope so. otherwise just look at the pictures. thank you, sir.
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