Small purple artichokes….
These little beauties are in the markets now here in the south of France but I know that the majority of my friends have no idea how to prepare them. So, I figured I’d teach them!
I prepared them last week for family and even before cooking the artichokes I was compelled to photograph them. They are really a beautiful vegetable. They remind me of a dessert flower – hardy and possibly intimidating but at the same time delicate and beautiful with their violet and green leaves.
Larger globe artichokes have tough leaves. After steaming globe artichokes you only eat the meat at the base of their leaves and the delicious chokes hidden within. But these little violet gems are all edible! I will now explain how….
First, start by cutting off the stalk and trimming off the top 1-2 centimeters of the artichoke (the pointy bits).
Next, you remove the tough outer leaves.
When I was preparing this recipe I took about 7-8 leaves off of each artichoke but it depends on the size. Once you see the leaves becoming smoother, thinner and you glimpse the yellow/green at the base of the choke you have removed enough outer leaves. And this is what they should look like….
Now you can cut the chokes in half, lengthwise.
There is no need to remove the hairy choke in the center like you do when preparing the globe chokes.
The artichokes are now ready for cooking.
Braising is the best method for these little guys. Braising is a combination of dry-cooking and wet-cooking. You start off by browning your artichokes (or meat, whatever it is you are braising) in a small amount of hot oil. This is the “dry” cooking. Then you add liquid and simmer/steam the artichokes until they are tender.
In this recipe I keep the artichokes cut side down for the whole length of the cooking but the photo below shows the golden brown you want to achieve before adding your liquid.
Once you have achieved a nice golden brown color you can add your liquid – wine, lemon juice and garlic. Cover and simmer/steam the chokes until tender and this, my friends, is all there is to it……easy.
- 2 bunch small purple artichokes (about 2 lbs or 1 kg)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- ½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small handful chopped parsley
- Trim the tops of the artichokes and remove the tough outer leaves.
- Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
- Add the artichokes, cut side down, and brown them in the oil until they are nice and golden. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper while they are cooking.
- Add the wine, lemon juice and minced garlic and bring to a simmer.
- Cover the pan and simmer/steam the artichokes over medium heat until they are tender when pierced with a fork. This will take 20-30 minutes.
- Listen to the pan. If it seems like the wine has evaporated add a bit of water and re-cover. If you do not have a tight fitting lid you can use a pizza pan weighed down by something (I use my salt grinder and olive oil bottle).
- When the artichokes are tender toss with the parsley and serve.
- The artichokes can be served warm or at room temperature.