This was another item on the FPD (fall dinner party, I'm a dork, what do you want?) menu. Maybe I should back up and let you know the big picture. Dinner was cauliflower gratin, these artichokes, roasted acorn squash stuffed with mushrooms, and for dessert, a pecan pie.
High maintenance vegetable alert! Preparing these artichokes just really made me feel like I should have stripes on and a big old cuff and ball around my ankle. Serious work-camp sensations came over me as I prepped artichoke 6 of 8 and wondered if I would ever have free will again.
I'm not going to say the end result wasn't delicious-- because it was. The braising liquid of lemon, olive oil, fennel and coriander was aromatic and lovely, and the final presentation was quite satisfying. But so is having an extra three hours in the day, that you gained by not having made this recipe.
One note- I used a bit less olive oil than called for, because 1/2 c seemed gratuitous. Nothing bad happened.
Artichokes Braised in Lemon and Olive Oil
1 lemon, halved
8 medium artichokes
3 small shallots, sliced into thin rings
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 c water
3 strips lemon zest
1/4 c fresh lemon juice, divided
2 TB coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
To trim artichokes into hearts: add lemon halves to a large bowl of cold water, squeezing to release juice. Cut off top inch of 1 artichoke and bend back outer leaves until they snap off close to base (keep stem attached). Discard several more layers of leaves in same manner until you reach pale yellow leaves.
Peel sides of stem down to pale inner core. Put in lemon water while preparing remaining artichokes.
Cook shallots, carrot, garlic and seeds in 1/4 c olive oil in a 4-5 qt heavy pot (pot should be wide enough to hold artichokes in 1 layer with stems pointing upward) over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add water, zest, and 3 TB lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Stand artichokes in pot and season with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cover artichokes with wax paper, then a lid, and simmer over medium-low heat until bases are just tender when pierced with a knife, 20-30 minutes.
Transfer artichokes to a dish and reserve cooking liquid. When artichokes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise. Scoop out and discard inner choke (fuzzy center and any sharp leaves).
Heat 2 TB oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown cut sides of artichokes in 2 batches, about 2 minutes per batch, transferring to a serving dish. Add reserved cooking liquid to skillet along with remaining 1 TB lemon juice and remaining 2 TB oil. Boil vigorously 3 minutes, then stir in parsley and pour over artichokes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 (first course or side dish)