Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tomato and Wine Braised Artichokes

Springtime is artichoke time, and that’s a beautiful thing. But if you’re afraid it takes too much effort to prepare one, give it a try. I bet you’ll find it’s easier than you think. All you’re really doing is cutting away the tough parts to get to the delectable heart inside. Once you scrape out the fuzzy choke, you’re done. (See step-by-step instructions and photos below.)

Note: An artichoke is one of those fresh foods that oxidizes and darkens quickly when cut or peeled (think avocado). That doesn’t make it any less edible—just not as pretty. That’s where a lemon bath comes in. Citrus won’t stop the oxidation completely but it slows it down a bit.

One of my favorite ways to cook artichokes is a simple pan sear with nothing but olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and an extra splash of lemon juice. But for this recipe, I went low and slow by braising the artichokes in a fruity, savory tomato and white wine sauce. It’s super easy to make, adding not only an extra layer of flavor, but also tenderizing the artichokes top to bottom.

Serves 2-3

  • 1/2 large lemon, quartered, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 2 firm, medium artichokes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedges into a large bowl. Add the squeezed wedges to the bowl and fill about halfway with cold water.
  3. Working with one artichoke at a time, break off the tough outer leaves until you reach the more tender yellowish leaves underneath. Trim down the stem with a pairing knife to remove the outer woody layer.
  4. Cut off about 1 inch from the top of the artichoke and 1/4 inch from the bottom of the stem (less for a baby vegetable).
  5. Cut the artichoke in half vertically to expose the fuzzy, sometimes purplish, choke in the center. This isn’t edible, so scoop it out with a spoon and pull out any small leaves close to it that have fuzz on them.
  6. Cut each half in half vertically and place the artichoke quarters in the lemon-water bath. Repeat with the remaining artichoke.

Squeeze lemon quarters into bowl 
Remove outer leaves 
Cut off top 
Cut lengthwise to reveal fuzzy choke 
Scrape out choke 
Cut each half in half
Place in lemon water
  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring a few times, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, wine, and cumin and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
  3. Remove the artichokes from the lemon water, letting excess drip off. Place in an 11 X 7-inch baking dish. Pour the tomato-wine mixture over top and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Place in the oven and braise until the artichokes are tender, 50-55 minutes.

Garlic and Shallot
Tomato Mixture
Tomato and Wine Mixture
Ready to Braise
Braised Artichokes
Transfer to a plate and spoon some of the sauce on top. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges and serve right away.

Tomato and Wine Braised Artichokes

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