When Sherry Page and I headed down to the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival a month ago, we drove past fields of bushy green artichoke plants. It was a breathtaking sight, miles and miles of maturing buds ready to be harvested. It was just the inspiration I needed to jumpstart my work on this thistle vegetable.
Over the past month I've been experimenting with artichoke recipes, some that have resulted in fiberous stringy specimens, and others that have surpised me by highlighting the versatility and wonderful tender meatiness of this vegetable. With all of that work I think I've found a favorite: sauteed artichoke hearts in a lemon parsley sauce. Fresh tender artichoke hearts are sauteed in olive oil and minced garlic with a splash of bright lemony flavors.
This is a recipe that my wonderful husband prepared over the weekend to serve as a side dish. It was a surprisingly filling dish that offered a texture similar to tender potatoes without the heavy starches. We're looking forward to taking advantage of the remainder artichoke season with this recipe. The leftovers make for a good accompaniment to salads.
Sauteed Artichoke Hearts in Parsley-Lemon SauceAdapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers' Market
- 1 lemon
- 6 medium-sized artichokes
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- Prepare the artichoke: Have ready a large bowl of water. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, cut off the stem near the base. Peel back and snap off the first 1 or 2 layers of leaves, then cut off the top one-third of the artichoke. Starting at the base, break off the tough outer leaves, snapping them downward, until you reach the tender, pale green inner leaves. Cut off the uppermost part of the artichoke again, leaving about 1 inch of leaves rising. Trim around the base to make a smooth surface, then cut the artichoke in half lengthwise. If the center choke has developed any prickly tips, scoop it out with the edge of a spoon. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 pieces and drop them into the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. When all the artichokes are trimmed, drain and pat dry.
- Butter and lemon saute: In a heavy-bottomed large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and the artichokes and sauté until the artichokes turn lightly golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan, stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Then add the stock, butter (if using) and salt, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the bases of the artichoke pieces are easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
- Finish: Stir in the parsley and remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichoke pieces to warmed individual plates or a serving platter or bowl. Spoon the pan sauce over the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.