Artichokes are most certainly my favorite vegetable right now. And I made sure that my family was eating these wonderful Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes with Basil this past Easter Sunday.
Roasted for a good while in a white wine broth, then browned and brined with capers, basil and sea salt, this was and is a side fit for a most deserved spring supper.
I must confess that this dish is rather time and labor intensive on the front end. You must peel off the outer leaves of each little artichoke, slice off the top, pull back the leaves to scoop out the choke, and also trim up the stem before dumping it in a lemon water bath. Do this routine 24 times, and you’ll be rather tired. But it gets easier from there, and you will feel the rewards of your labor after your first little bite. I promise.
Kissed by a few nice days this past weekend, I sort of feel like Spring can only get easier from here as well. Or at least that is the position I am taking on this 40 degree day! My optimism is due to the fact that I have just left a job, and I am about to start a new one (!). Strangely, I find myself anxious and excited at certain moments and then peaceful and at ease during others. The balding hunk tells me I’ve been one big ball of stress for the past few months and that he is happy to see a more relaxed individual hanging around the house (at least sometimes…).
I certainly felt peacefulness on Saturday as I witnessed nearly 40 children take off over our lawn and our neighbors in search of candy filled eggs and 12 precious golden eggs with the prize of real gold coins. I don’t know what was more fun to watch — the anticipation on all their faces as they waited to be released to find their treasures or the sheer delight in their eyes as they took off sprinting and grabbed their first little egg.
An easter egg hunt was not all that we had in store for our family last weekend. We managed to grill up some hot dogs and burgers for stragglers from the hunt who were also able to enjoy a nice bloody mary and mimosa bar with this feast. Then we celebrated my mother in law’s 70th and my niece’s 1st birthday Saturday evening! Finally, a glorious Easter lunch for family followed on Sunday.
Suffice to say, no one went home hungry and probably left a few pounds heavier (sigh.) And after we’d all dined on grilled lamb loin chops, my grandma’s mashed potatoes, a spinach and romaine salad with fresh herbs and these divine baby artichokes and sipped on some delicious Rioja and Nebbiolo, the only thing left to do was take a nap, which I promptly did.
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 24 baby artichokes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Sea salt
- 1½ cups dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- ¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
- Squeeze lemon into a large bowl of cold water. Pull off tough dark outer leaves of each artichoke until mostly yellow leaves remain. Using a serrated knife, cut 1" off from the top of the artichoke. Trim stem (leave at least ½ inch intact) and using vegetable peeler, remove tough outer layer from stem. Dip artichoke in lemon water to prevent discoloration. Pull back leaves to expose choke, and scrape choke from artichoke with a small spoon and discard. Place artichoke in lemon water.
- Drain artichokes and let stand about 2 minutes to drain on a paper towel; pat dry.
- Heat oil in a wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Place artichokes, stem side up, in pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Scatter garlic over, season with salt, and cook, without stirring, just until garlic is golden, about 3 minutes.
- Add wine and cover pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until artichoke hearts are very tender, 25-30 minutes. Do not stir.
- Add capers, bring to a boil, and cook, uncovered, until wine has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add basil and cook until artichoke tops are deep golden brown, about 3-4 minutes more.
- Serve artichokes warm or room temperature, drizzle with pan juices and sprinkle with grated parmesan.