Artichokes Steamed in White Wine
Often artichokes in the supermarket look a little worn out. Long distance travel and low shelf-turnover leaves them limp and browning with loose leaves that do not perk up when cooked. However when I spotted two beautiful specimens on a rare trip to Whole Foods I couldn’t resist bringing them home. Mr. B shares my love for fresh artichokes and he excitedly asked if I could steam them in a a white wine broth for dinner. That sounded like a marvelous idea, so I dug around and found a popular recipe from Tyler Florence as my muse.
Steaming the artichokes creates a delicious astringent broth that can be used in other dishes if you are so inclined.
4 sprigs thyme
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, cut in half
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 quart chicken broth or water
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 whole artichokes
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 lemon juiced
Place a large pot over medium high heat. Add the thyme, garlic, bay leaves, 1 and 1/2 lemons, wine, olive oil, and broth to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Taste the liquid and season with salt and pepper.
Rinse the artichokes under cold water. Take a heavy knife and cut off the tough stems close to the base of the artichoke. If there are any small tough petals near the base, pull them off and discard them. Trim 1″ off the top of the artichoke and rub the remaining half lemon on the tops. Afterward toss the lemon into the pot with the liquid.
Set the artichokes in the simmering liquid, bottoms up. Cover the pot with a lid and steam the artichokes for 30-40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a small knife into the base of an artichoke. If the knife enters the base easily they are cooked. Another way to test for doneness is to pull off a lower leaf- it should easily pull away from the base.
While the artichokes cook, divide the butter and lemon juice evenly between two microwave safe bowls. Place each bowl in the microwave and cook for 15-30 seconds, just until the butter is melted. Stir the mixture and serve with the cooked artichokes.
Let the artichokes cool slightly, and then eat them by pulling off the leaves, dipping them in the lemon butter, and scraping the meat off the wide end of the leaf with your front teeth. Once you have worked through most of the leaves and reached inner leaves that are completely soft and a lighter color, pull off the the inner leaves and scrape away the thistle fuzz which covers the heart. Enjoy the delicacy that is the heart!