The real hit of Easter dinner was these artichokes. I do not cook artichokes very often because I've never really learned how to cook them properly. After making these you can bet I shall be adding them to the menu more often.
One of the challenges with artichokes if knowing how to clean them. This video by Mark Bittman was helpful in this area! You might be tempted to not trim as aggressively as you should because that pile of castoff artichoke pieces keeps getting larger. Don't worry - if you DON'T trim agressively you'll leave on pieces that will be tough and thorny rendering the finished product inedible.
The folks ay Fine Cooking wrote that these artichokes are a versatile side dish for grilled, roasted, or braised chicken, lamb, or beef—or even duck breasts or veal chops. Yup, they were great with the lamb but I bet they'd be just fine on their own or as a part of a tapas plater!
Pan-Seared Artichokes with Sherry Vinegar and Thyme
6 large artichokes
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more as needed
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Prepare the artichoke hearts using my simple method.
Once the hearts have been prepared, cut each half into two wedges and toss them with 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar with 1/4 cup water in a small dish. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil and garlic in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the garlic just starts to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Add the artichokes to the pan (they may splatter at first) and arrange them with one cut side down. Cook until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook the other cut side until nicely browned, about 3 minutes more. Turn the artichokes on their curved side. Scatter the lemon zest on the artichokes and season with the salt and pepper.
Reduce the heat to low, add the vinegar and water, cover, and simmer until the liquid has reduced to about 1 Tbs. and the artichokes are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 5 minutes. (If the artichokes are still a bit undercooked after the liquid has reduced, turn off the heat and let them sit, covered, for a few more minutes until they reach the desired doneness.)
Remove the pan from the heat, scatter the thyme on the artichokes and stir well. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or let rest, uncovered, and serve slightly warm.