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!
Start early enough in the day or the day before, there are a lot of steps to this recipe.
Recipe from Gourmet, November 2008
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.)
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 1 ½ cups of water, lemon zest, and 3 Tablespoons of the lemon juice. Then bring the mixture to a simmer.
In a large heavy skillet (I like to use my 12-inch cast iron pan) heat 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmery.
Remove from the oil and repeat with the second half of the artichokes, about 2 minutes per batch.
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.
The artichokes can be braised 1 day ahead and chilled in their cooking liquid. Reheat to warm before proceeding.
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!