Pot-Roasted Artichokes with White Wine and Capers
Chef and cookbook author April Bloomfield explains that one of the reasons she looks forward to spring is the arrival of artichokes at the farmers’ market. Although some home cooks are reluctant to purchase them because they need to be “turned”—the barbed leaves plucked off and the other inedible bits trimmed away—she actually enjoys the process, saying, “It’s meditative and satisfying once you get the hang of it.”
- 1 lemon
- 3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg) baby artichokes (about 18)
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp. Maldon or other flaky sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 heaping Tbs. capers, drained
- A small handful of mint leaves, preferably black mint, torn into pieces
Fill a big bowl with water and squeeze the juice from the lemon into it. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off the dark green leaves until only the tender yellow leaves remain. Cut off about 1/2 inch (12 mm) of the stem. Using a vegetable peeler or a small knife, trim away any tough green patches from the bottom of the artichoke. Look at the cut part of the stem; you’ll see a pale green circle surrounded by a darker border. Peel the stem, getting as close as you can to the pale green center. Drop the artichoke into the bowl of lemon water to prevent discoloring. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Cut about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the top of each artichoke, then use a small spoon to scoop out and discard the feathery choke. Gently squeeze each artichoke over the bowl as you go and set them cut side down on paper towels to drain for about 5 minutes.
In a large, heavy pot wide enough to hold the artichokes in a single layer with room to spare, warm the oil until it just begins to smoke. Stand the artichokes, stem side up, in the oil. Cook for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to medium-low, sprinkle in the garlic and salt, and cook, without stirring, just until the garlic turns golden and smells toasty, about 3 minutes.
Pour in the wine, cover the pot and cook at a vigorous simmer, without stirring, until you can insert a sharp knife into the artichoke bottoms with barely any resistance, about 25 minutes. About 5 minutes before the artichokes are fully tender, scatter the capers on top of the artichokes and re-cover.
Uncover the pot, raise the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until all the wine has evaporated (the bubbling sound will become a sizzle), about 3 minutes. Add the mint and keep cooking the artichokes in the oil until the cut sides of the artichokes are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the artichokes from getting too dark.
Arrange the artichokes on a plate and spoon the capers, oil and slightly crispy mint on top. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from April Bloomfield, A Girl and Her Greens (Ecco, 2015)