I found these stunning dark purple baby artichokes at Pike Place Market, and their appearance reminded me of mussels, which got me thinking of the bowls of moules marinières that I see folks eating at French restaurants. I figured the artichokes would gladly give themselves over to the same treatment: a steaming bath of white wine with shallot and garlic.
The results were delicious. The artichoke flavor ends up infusing into the broth, which you then sop up with grilled bread. I used vermouth instead of white wine which adds its own herbal notes.
Jen from Wine and a Spoon let me know that she tried it chardonnay and the broth turned out bitter. I tried that too, and agree that there is something unpleasant there, maybe over-reduced tannins. So I’d recommend the vermouth approach, or at least use a light, unoaked white wine.
Of course you don’t have to use purple artichokes, though they are gorgeous. Baby green ‘chokes will work just fine, and you could even do this with full sized artichokes if you cut them into quarters or eighths, remove the fuzzy choke, and peel the stem. (Baby artichokes are generally small enough that they haven’t developed a significant fuzzy choke that needs removing.)
Vegetarian / 30 minutes
- 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 pounds baby artichokes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons minced shallot or white onion
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups dry vermouth
- 3 tablespoons minced parsley, divided (or try 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon instead)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 4-8 slices artisan bread, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil and grilled or toasted
- Preheat a large serving bowl. Fill another bowl with cold water and squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon.
- Cut off the upper third of each baby artichoke. Trim off any ugly part of the stem but leave as much as possible. Pull off tough outer leaves, erring on the side of removing more, not less. If any of the baby artichokes are much bigger than the rest, cut them in half. Put each artichoke in the lemon water (acidulated water) as you finish trimming it, to avoid unsightly browning.
- Melt the butter in a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook for 3 minutes, until the onion has softened.
- Add the white wine, 2 tablespoons of parsley, thyme and the drained artichokes. Mix the artichokes in. Cover and bring to a bare simmer. Reduce heat to low to just maintain the simmer and cook until the artichokes are completely tender when poked with a knife. If there isn’t enough broth left, add a bit more wine and simmer for a couple of minutes to cook off most of the alcohol. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Pour all of the contents of the pot into the serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining parsley and several grinds of pepper. Arrange the toasted bread around the outside of the bowl and serve immediately.