Artichokes make a delicious addition to vegetable dinners and company lunches. Globe Artichokes – sometimes called the French Artichokes is, in reality, the bud of a thistle-like flower which is as decorative as the bud is palatable. A choice artichoke should have bright green leaves rather closely packed. Rusty spots or widely separated leaves indicate age or injury. The very small artichokes may be trimmed for artichoke hearts or used as small cups to hold hors-d’oeuvres or hot food.
Braised Artichokes with Onions & Bacon, a classic provincial dish in which artichokes are gently poached in fragrant stock, which is then boiled down to make a sauce. It’s perfect with any white or oily fish.
Braised Artichokes with Onions & Bacon
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 medium-sized globe artichokes
- 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1-2 thick slice of lean bacon, chopped into cubes
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- few sprigs of fresh basil stems and leaves separated
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash the artichokes. Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze the lemon halves into it. Working with one artichoke at a time, cut across in half. Discard the top and pull off the tough outer green leaves until you reach the tender yellow leaves. If the artichoke is old, scrape out the hairy choke with a melon baller or spoon. Trim and peel the base and stem, then quarter the heart. Add to the bowl of lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Drain the artichokes and pat dry with a clean dish towel. In batches, fry the artichokes, cut-side down, until the edges are golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the bacon cubes to the pan and sauté until lightly browned 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4–6 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, basil stems, and coriander seeds, then deglaze the pan with the wine. Boil until reduced by two-thirds, then pour in the chicken stock. Bring back to a boil and simmer until reduced by half.
Return the artichokes to the pan. Simmer until they are tender, about 15 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the artichokes and most of the onions and bacon to a plate, then boil the sauce until reduced to a syrupy glaze. Return the artichokes, onions, and bacon to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce.
Adjust the seasoning and transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. Tear the basil leaves and scatter them over the artichokes. Serve hot or warm for lunch or as a side dish.