With their tough armor of thorny leaves, artichokes can appear intimidating, and many home chefs find the idea of preparing them daunting. The process is admittedly a little more laborious than peeling a potato, but the result is worth the effort. Trim your way past the green outer leaves, and you will be rewarded with the sweet yellow inner leaves and the meaty, succulent heart.
This recipe is a traditional Provençal barigoule, in which artichokes are braised in a fragrant broth of olive oil, herbs, and a little white wine, along with carrots, pearl onions, tomatoes, and celery. Normally this dish doesn’t include cheese, but I’ve added burrata, made with mozzarella and cream, to give it a luxurious quality.
For some added punch, spoon over the top a little pistou, a basil-and-garlic sauce, also from the south of France. Barigoule makes a superb main dish or a hearty appetizer for a late-spring meal. To keep things in a Mediterranean vein, serve it before roasted lamb or skewers of grilled eggplant and zucchini. You can also use barigoule to garnish a fillet of fish, roast chicken, or even shrimp or lobster.
Creamy burrata and basil pistou top a dish of braised artichokes. The dinner plate is by and the tablecloth is by .
ARTICHOKES BARIGOULE AU PISTOU
Serves 4 as an appetizer
3 lemons, halved
12 baby artichokes or 5 globe artichokes
1⁄2 cup olive oil
8 red pearl onions, halved
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 carrot, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1⁄4-inch-thick pieces
2 sprigs thyme
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup white wine
1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
2 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 T diced pancetta (optional)
4 bunches fresh basil, leaves only
3 T toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
One 8 oz. burrata
Add the juice of 21⁄2 lemons to 4 cups of water in a large bowl. If you’re using baby artichokes, remove the outer leaves until you reach the pale yellow leaves. With a paring knife, trim each stem and cut 3⁄4 inch from the top. With a peeler, peel the stems and base, then immediately place the artichokes in the lemon water to prevent them from browning. After trimming all of the artichokes, cut each one in half lengthwise and return to the water. If you are using globe artichokes, trim the base of each and cut about 1 inch from the top, then peel the stem and base. Cut into quarters, scrape out the fuzzy interior with a spoon or paring knife, then place them in the water.
In a large, shallow pan, warm 3 T of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, carrot, and thyme, season with salt and white pepper, and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Drain the artichokes and add to the pan. Season again and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the wine and continue cooking until it’s reduced by half. Add the stock and return to a simmer, then cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato and pancetta, if using, and cook uncovered for 5minutes. Season to taste, remove the barigoule from the heat, and let cool to room temperature. Chop the basil and pine nuts and combine with the remaining olive oil in a large bowl.
Season with salt and add the garlic. Stir the pistou with a fork and set aside for at least 5 minutes. To serve, squeeze the remaining lemon half over the artichokes and use a slotted spoon to divide them among 4 shallow bowls. Whisk the pistou into the remaining liquid in the pan and ladle 1⁄4 cup of the broth into each bowl. Cut the burrata into quarters and add one to each bowl, with a pinch of salt and white pepper.
A German white or a gin cocktail pairs well; the runner and napkin are by .
WHAT TO DRINK
“Artichokes are notorious for causing wines to taste metallic,” says Raj Vaidya, head sommelier of Daniel restaurant. “But there are exceptions. Weingut Keller’s Grüner-Silvaner Trocken 2015 [$23], a savory and herbaceous dry white from Germany, plays off the green bitterness of the artichokes, as well as the herbal flavors of the basil. A fun alternative would be a cocktail. I love the Last Word, a concoction of gin, Chartreuse, Maraschino, and lime; the gin’s herbal notes match the artichokes while the Maraschino offers fruit and a bit of bitter to go with the pine nuts.”
This story was originally published in the June 2017 issue of Siweb.