Baby artichokes make a great vegetarian starter or light lunch entree. A fruity high-quality pure olive oil works fine here. The delicious Greek inspired sauce is a takeoff on the Greek avgolemono.
Baby Artichokes with a Greek-Inspired Sauce: Brought to you by Le Creuset
- 2 large lemons, preferably organic
- 20 baby artichokes
- Scant 1/2 cup pure olive oil
- 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 green onions, white and tender green, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pureed through a microplane
- 1 1/3 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
- 6 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Zest one lemon and juice both lemons. You should have about 4 tablespoons of juice. Set these aside. Retain one of the lemon halves, and put another half in a bowl large enough to hold the trimmed artichokes. Add cold water.
3. Trim the artichokes by cutting the bottoms of the stems, leaving about an inch on each. Peel the stems with a sharp peeler or knife, and rub the juiced lemon half over the peeled portion.
4. Pull off the artichoke’s tough outer leaves and cut 3/4-inch off the top of the artichoke parallel to the base. Rub the surfaces with that halved lemon. Cut the vegetable in half and toss into the acidulated water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
5. Add the olive oil to a 12-inch shallow skillet, or one that’s large enough to hold the halved artichokes in one layer. Saute the shallots and green onion over very low heat until they are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and continue to cook an additional minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
6. Drain the prepared artichoke halves and pat dry with a paper towel. Add these to the skillet, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and saute uncovered, for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Add the white wine or vermouth and the lemon zest and continue cooking another 10 minutes, or until the liquid becomes syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat.
7. With a slotted spoon, divide the artichokes and the reduced liquid between 4 cocottes. Cover the cocottes with their lids and bake 20 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, a little at a time, pulling the pan off and on the heat until the butter softens and thickens the sauce. When the mixture turns to a sauce, whisk in the tarragon and white pepper to taste.
9. To serve, remove the lids from the cocottes, add a spritz of salt to each portion, and drizzle the sauce over each. Serve immediately.