Raise your hand if you love artichokes! Usually I prepare mine steamed, with a little balsamic mayo for dipping. But this braising method is quickly becoming a favorite. Quartered and prepped artichokes are braised in white wine and olive oil with shallots, garlic, bay leaves, parsley and mint. The artichokes are served slightly warm or at room temperature, having marinated in their braising juices. A perfect make-ahead dish.
This dish is inspired by a classic Roman-style braised artichoke. For that dish, more of the outer leaves are trimmed off, and the artichokes are braised until they are completely tender and you can eat the whole thing with a fork and knife. The globe artichokes we get here in California are larger and tougher than the purple Roman artichokes used in the classic dish. So, we are still braising them, but keeping the leaves on and eating the leaves as if we would with a regular steamed artichoke. If you want, you can just trim more of the leaves off of the artichokes, until you get to the most tender leaves in the center, and braise the artichokes that way.
Choose globe artichokes whose petals are closed. They'll be fresher than artichokes whose petals have started to open wide. Frost-kissed artichokes are especially delicious, so even though they may look a little blemished, they'll taste great.
- 2 large globe artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup sliced shallots
- 3 cloves garlic, minced, about 1 Tbsp
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup dry white wine (such as a Sauvignon blanc)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1 Prep the artichokes. Prepare a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze half a lemon into the water. Using a serrated knife (bread knife works well for this), cut off the top inch of the artichokes. Squeeze a little lemon over the cut areas to keep the artichokes from turning brown. Use kitchen shears to snip off the thorny tips of the artichoke leaves.
Use the serrated knife to cut the artichokes into quarters. Use a metal teaspoon to scrape away the hairy choke above the artichoke heart. Remove the small, papery, purplish leaves close to the choke. Rub the cut areas again with lemon. Place the quartered artichoke hearts into the bowl of acidulated water as you finish prepping them.
2 Heat olive oil on medium heat in a thick-bottomed pot that will hold all of the artichokes tightly in a single layer. (Choose a pot with a tight-fitting lid.) When the oil is hot, add the shallots and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
3 Add the white wine, water, bay leaves, and salt to the pot. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan by 1/4-inch. If not, add more water until there is. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for a minute. Place the quartered artichokes, cut side down in a single layer, in the pot. Bring to a boil on high heat. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and lower the heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes. (If it looks like the pot is at risk of running out of liquid, add more hot water to the pot.) Then toss with the parsley and mint, turning the artichokes over to coat them with the sauce, cover again, and cook for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, until the leaves are tender and are easy to pull off the artichoke.
Note that older artichokes may take a longer cooking time (and therefore more water/wine in the pot) to get tender.
Let cool to slightly warm or room temperature. Serve with some of the pan juices and shallots from the braising liquid. Especially good if you make a day ahead, giving the cooked artichokes more time to marinate. Just chill, and return to room temperature before serving.