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Artichoke Hearts in Lemon-Parsley Sauce

Artichoke Hearts in Lemon-Parsley Sauce
To prepare fresh artichokes for cooking, first fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of 1 lemon (this prevents them from discoloring). Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off the tough outer leaves until you reach the pale green inner leaves. Using a serrated knife, cut off the stem and trim off the thorny leaf tops. If using small artichokes, gently spread the leaves and, with a paring knife or small spoon, cut or scoop out the fuzzy choke. If using medium-size artichokes, quarter them lengthwise and cut out the chokes. Drop the artichokes into the bowl of lemon water while you trim the remaining ones.

Ingredients:

  • 8 small to medium artichokes, trimmed, or 15 to
    20 thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1 Tbs. capers, preferably salt packed (optional)
  • 4 to 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock or
    low-sodium canned broth
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A few fresh basil or mint leaves, torn

Directions:

If using fresh whole artichokes, trim away the tough outer leaves and remove the choke. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Drain the artichokes, add them to the boiling water along with the lemon half, and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. (There is no need to boil frozen artichoke hearts.)

If using salt-packed capers, soak in water to cover for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry. If using brine-packed capers, rinse under cold running water, then drain and pat dry. Set aside.

In a sauté pan or deep fry pan over medium-low heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until softened and golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley and artichokes and cook, tossing every so often and adding a little more oil if the artichokes begin to scorch, until they are fragrant and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 1 cup of the stock, the capers, lemon zest, lemon juice and basil. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the artichokes are tender and the liquid has evaporated to a thickened and flavorful sauce, about 20 minutes. If the liquid is in danger of boiling away before the artichokes are tender, add more stock as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot or at room temperature.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Vegetable, by Marlena Spieler (Simon & Schuster, 2002).