Baby artichokes are a labor of love, and the one you serve them to will love you for it. Speed is the key. Air turns cut artichokes brown within seconds, so you must rub all surfaces constantly with a cut lemon and drop them as quickly as possible into lemon water. Sautéed to a tender brown, though, baby artichokes are a delight any way you eat them. You can put them in salads or mix them with pasta. Spread on flatbread with sweated onions and roasted red peppers, they make an unforgettable pissaladière. Or, do what I’m doing tonight for Harry: Pile them sweetly around a bowl of Curried Mayonnaise. SAM
2 lemons, one juiced, one halved
3 cups cold water
8 whole baby artichokes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon marsala wine
Curried Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
Trim away any woody parts of the artichoke stems. Pull off and discard the heavy, outer leaves until a cone of yellow remains. Cut off the green tips. Immediately rub all surfaces with the cut lemon. Halve or quarter the artichokes, again rubbing cut surfaces with lemon. If the choke is prickly, cut it out. As quickly as possible, drop the cut pieces into the bowl of lemon water. In a chef’s pan over medium-high, heat the oil to nearly smoking. Sauté the artichokes lifting constantly with tongs, until browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the marsala and stir vigorously to release the browned fond on the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the artichokes steam for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with Curried Mayonnaise.
Makes 2 servings.
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
1 teaspoon small capers
Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, curry powder, and capers.
Makes 1 1/4 cups.