Oven-Braised Baby Artichokes with Lemon Aioli

Oven-Braised Baby Artichokes with Lemon Aioli

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Being sheltered and shaded by those higher up on the plant, they simply grow to a size that seems immature by comparison. Like many true baby vegetables, however, baby artichokes are more tender and have a more delicate flavor. They also offer the benefit of not having developed the tough, fibrous chokes that you'll find at the heart of big artichokes, or as much of the thick skin and sharp points on the leaves, so they require less in the way of meticulous trimming and cutting. Nevertheless, before cooking, you will have to trim away anything from their exterior that seems inedible, and, after cutting, you still need to put them in acidulated water — that is, water with lemon juice — to maintain the pristine greenish-gray color of their raw flesh, which oxidizes rapidly on exposure to air. Once you're prepped them for cooking in this way, baby artichokes lend themselves to a great variety of preparations. I enjoy them raw, cut into thin slices and tossed with Parmesan shavings and a light lemon vinaigrette. They're delicious quartered or thickly sliced, dipped in a light batter, and deep-fried in the style of Italian fritto misto or Japanese tempura. My fiancée goes often to Angelini Osteria, the Los Angeles restaurant of our friend Gino Angelini, just to eat the baby artichokes that he slowly braises in olive oil with garlic and herbs. She also likes to eat them the way I often cook them, oven-braised with aromatic vegetables, herbs and white wine, then tossed with a simple vinaigrette and drizzled with a lemony version of aioli, the popular garlic mayonnaise of Provence. When shopping for baby artichokes in your farmers' market, look for ones that have good color, are free of blemishes and wrinkles, and feel heavy for their size. If you see lots of them, plan on doubling or even tripling my recipe. They'll keep in the refrigerator for several days — store the aioli separately — and will only go on improving in flavor. Just be sure to let them come to room temperature before serving. One taste, and I'm sure you'll agree that “baby” artichokes deserve just as much or even more attention than their seemingly grown-up siblings.

Shared by ,
Northbrook, IL

Serving Size / Yield

2-4 servings

Ingredients

  • Oven-Braised Baby Artichokes:
  • Water
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 8 baby artichokes
  • 3 Tbs.s extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 C. white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • Lemon Aioli:
  • 1 C. good-quality mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch of sugar

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Fill a bowl with cold fresh water and squeeze the lemon half into it. With a small, sharp knife, trim the stem end, any tough exterior and sharp leaf tips from a baby artichoke, then cut it lengthwise into quarters and drop it in the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.


In an ovenproof sauté pan large enough to hold all of the artichokes, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrot and onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain the artichokes and add them along with the wine into the pan with the carrot and onion, stirring and scraping to deglaze any pan deposits. Add the bay leaf, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan, transfer it to the oven and cook until the artichokes are tender, about 15 minutes.


In a mixing bowl, combine the shallots, parsley and vinegar, stirring with a wire whisk. Whisking continuously, drizzle in the remaining olive oil. Toss the artichokes with the shallot-parsley mixture. Let the artichokes come to room temperature before serving.


Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, combine all the aioli ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended. Set aside.


To serve, spoon the artichokes onto individual plates and drizzle with the aioli.


Need more help?

Chef Todd Mohr of WebCookingClasses.com shares his tips on braising. Want to learn more? Click here for a 14 day free trial from WebCookingClasses.com!






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