I grew up eating whole artichokes with homemade mayo for dipping. These were a treat, something my mother and I would share or, when I was big enough, eat side by side. If we were eating the same head, there would always be a bit of tension when we got down to the heart, the best part. My mother would usually give it to me, after making sure to scrape out all remnants of the choke. I had pictured my death at the hand of an artichoke many times, but so long as there was someone around to double check my cleaning job, the danger only made the heart all the more desirable.
I never remembered artichokes as a seasonal treat, but now I realize they must have been. Lately, the markets have been full of them, and when I see a beautiful bin, I can’t help but grab a pair (carefully) for my weekday lunches.
Whole steamed artichokes are still one of my favorite meals when I am alone. I remember calling my mother up on the phone the first time I tried to make them myself. And then again years later when I tried to recreate them for this recipe.
I came upon a great recipe for braised artichokes on Pinterest and knew I had to branch out of my habitual choke rut to try it. You simply clean the chokes, place them in a baking dish with white wine, thyme, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Then let them steam away. The braising liquid creates such a flavorful sauce, slipping into every last leaf, that you don’t even need mayo for dipping. Though when it comes to mayo, I say, why not gild the lily?
I’m not going to lie to you: they are quite a bit of work, so this recipe might be a once a season occurrence. But it’s SO worth it.
See below for step by step instructions on how to clean the artichokes. I manage to prick myself every time. But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
White Wine Braised Artichokes with Thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour the wine, lemon juice, garlic cloves, and thyme into a shallow casserole dish.
Place the artichokes on a work surface. Cut off the top 1/3. Pluck the outer leaves off until they start turning a greenish-yellow. At this point, you should have eliminated most of the leaves that still have their spiky tips. If not, trim the tops off the remaining spiky leaves with scissors.
Using a peeler, remove the outer layer of the stalks of the artichoke. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Working quickly, remove the choke: pull out the very small purplish leaves at the very center – this will make it easier to spoon out the choke (the fur at the center of the artichokes). Using a grapefruit spoon, if possible, scrape out the fur. When clean, flip around in the braising liquid to cover and arrange cut-side down to prevent the centers from browning. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
Drizzle the chokes with olive oil and season with the salt. Cover with foil and roast in the oven until tender when pieced with a fork, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and allow to cool slightly. Serve with the braising liquid, and lemon wedges and parsley for garnish.