Braised in a flavorful broth, artichokes become silky and tender. Here, we pair them with fresh peas and herbs, adding creme fraiche at the end of cooking to enrich the sauce. This recipe makes a wonderful side dish for a spring dinner party, or you can serve it over polenta to make a beautiful meatless meal.
Braised Artichokes with Shallots & Peas
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
6 large artichokes, about 1/2 lb. (250 g.) each
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) dry white wine
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 g.) low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small clove garlic, chopped
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
6-8 leaves fresh mint, cut into slices
1 lb. (500 g.) fresh English peas, shelled
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) creme fraiche
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Have ready a bowl of water to which you have added the lemon juice. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, pull off and discard the tough outer leaves until you reach the tender, pale yellow-green inner leaves. Cut off about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) from the top to remove the prickly tips. Using a paring knife, remove the tough outer layer on the stem. Cut the trimmed artichokes lengthwise into quarters. As each artichoke is finished, drop it into the lemon water.
Warm a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the shallots and thyme sprig and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drain the artichokes, shake off the excess water, and add to the pan. Raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes are lightly browned in places, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the artichokes are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 12-15 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, parsley, mint and lemon zest.
When the artichokes are done, there should be at least 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) of liquid left in the pan. Add a little more broth if needed. Add the peas, then stir in the creme fraiche and mustard. Cook, stirring, until the peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Gently stir in the herb mixture, taste and adjust the seasonings, and serve. Serves 4-6.
Find more wholesome recipes for every day of the year in our new cookbook, Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan.