Real Food for Real Life

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Minimalist Artichoke...

Artichoke braised in butter and lemon
with a bit of grilled steak.

"Minimalist Artichoke," sounds like an artwork or something, doesn't it?  I cooked this big beautiful artichoke using Mark Bittman's, aka "The Minimalist," method.  I love Bittman's approach to food, few ingredients and simple preparation that brings out the most in whatever is being prepared.  If you aren't familiar with him, I suggest you get yourself right over to The New York Times and check him out.

Braised Artichokes

4 medium artichokes (I used 1 huge one)
4 tbs, butter (I used 2)
chicken stock, as needed Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (I used 1 sliced lemon)

 Cut each of the artichokes in half; remove the toughest outer leaves, use a spoon to remove the choke, and trim the bottom.  Put 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it melts and foam subsides, add artichokes, cut side down. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add stock (it should come about halfway up the sides of the artichokes), bring to a boil, and cover; turn heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender, checking every 5 or 10 minutes to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan, adding more stock if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and transfer artichokes to serving platter.  Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a sauce. Stir in lemon zest and juice and remaining tablespoon butter; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve artichokes drizzled with sauce.

I added the sliced lemon to the stock when I was simmering the artichoke (I love lemony flavor), and increased the cooking time for my over-sized thistle.  I think this recipe would be amazing using the little baby artichokes that you can eat whole. Make sure you have some crusty bread handy to sop up any of the juices left on your plate (I had steak and the lemon butter sauce on my plate, oh my :).

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