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This is a simple and really delicious French dish that can be great as a first course or (using just the artichoke heart) in a salad.
- 3 × 400g artichoke (1 per person)
- 100g lemon (about ½ a lemon)
- 90g shallot (3) or onion (1)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 small bunch of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 500ml water (enough to come halfway up the side of the artichoke)
- 100ml olive oil
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
- Remove the outer most leaves of the artichoke (about 1-2 levels) and trim the bottom.
- Peel and roughly chop the shallot or onion and garlic. Roughly chop the lemon.
- In a sauce pan large enough to put all the artichokes on the bottom, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over a medium heat and then put in the shallot or onion and garlic. Cook them for 2 minutes.
- Put in everything else, except for the artichoke, and bring it up to the boil. Then put in the artichoke, turn the heat down and simmer it for 25 minutes with the lid on.
- Turn the artichokes upside down and cook them for a further 15 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the artichokes and serve. We served them with a vinaigrette for dipping (see notes). The vinaigrette was made by whisking together 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and some salt & pepper.
- Artichokes are eaten by pulling off a leaf, dipping the base of it into a sauce and then scraping off the flesh with your teeth (the rest of the leaf is very tough and fibrous and should be discarded). Once you get through all of the leaves, you will face a mass of hairy seeds. These should be scooped out with a spoon and the remaining flesh can then be eaten (this is called the artichoke heart).
- If you just want to serve the artichoke heart, once you have pulled off all the leaves and scooped out the seeds, put the heart back into the cooking liquor and put it back onto a gentle heat. This will not only reheat it but also change its colour back from being grey to pale green. If you have prepared the artichoke heart ahead of time, keeping it in the cooking liquor will prevent it from oxidising and preserve its colour (and allow it to take on extra flavour).
- Artichokes can be eaten either hot or cold.