I like to serve this both as a side dish and as an appetizer, with sliced bread as an accompaniment. It really celebrates the bounty of spring; want to up the ante? Add peas, green beans, fresh fennel, mushrooms, potatoes … whatever’s fresh!
Braised Leeks & Artichokes.
- 5-6 Medium fresh artichokes
- 1/2 Lemon
- 4 Large leeks
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- Coarse Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Trim artichokes. Snap off tough outer leaves of each artichoke until nearly at the base, keeping the pale bottom end of the artichoke intact. Continue removing leaves, one at a time, until you get to the green heart. Cut off about 1 inch of the tough green top from of the light green/white center, rubbing each of the cut parts with the lemon to prevent it from turning black. Cut each trimmed heart into four equal sections. Remove stems, pare away the dark green outer layer until you get to the pale center. Cut the stem in half lengthwise. Cut off the soft, prickly leaves at base of the artichoke heart, as well as any tough green parts on the outside. Cut artichoke pieces into roughly 1″ wedges, and again rub cut parts with lemon.
2. Prepare leeks. Cut 1 inch off the top of each leek, as well as the roots on the bottom. If there are any blemished leaves on the outside, remove those, too. Cut each leek in half lengthwise, and cut again into 2-3″ slices. Place leeks in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes to remove any dirt.
3. In a dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed skillet, place olive oil and leeks. Fill with enough water so that the liquid is about 1″ deep, and simmer, covered, over medium heat until leeks are tender.
4. Stir in artichokes, season with salt and pepper and cover. If too much liquid has evaporated, add a few tablespoons at any point in the cooking process. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes. The dish is ready when the artichokes are tender when pierced in the center with a fork. If you’ve added too much water, turn the heat up to high to quickly evaporate liquid.
Recipe Credit: Marcella Hazan.