Pan Seared Artichoke with Balsamic Glaze

Pan Seared Artichoke with Balsamic Glaze Recipe

Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables. Some people seem to dislike artichokes without getting to know them because of all the work involved in eating it. It requires a good deep cleaning under the sink, steam it, pan sear it and you're done. Serve it with a flavorful dipping sauce like the balsamic glaze in this recipe, or your own aioli (which I'll provide a recipe of soon).

Since moving to America, I have to admit that it seems that many Americans are more concerned with convenience than taste. No offense. The French, and I include myself in this stereotype, are infamous for savouring every morsel of food. Food is a social activity and so we don't mind a bit of extra work.

My aunt was watching me prepare this dish today, and her first reaction was: "Why are you cooking this? It's such a pain to eat". When the artichokes had fully cooked on the griddle. I plated it, removed one leaf, dipped in the balsamic vinaigrette and put it in her mouth. She stopped talking and ended up eating the entire artichoke. 

Tanya, this recipe is for you since you requested a low fat, low cholesterol veggie recipe for your parents.

Ingredients

Yields: 4 servings

2 whole jumbo artichokes
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh curly parsley
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon honey Dijon Mustard
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon fleur de sel
¼ teaspoon white peppercorns, freshly ground
1 teaspoon fried onions


Directions

Place a bucket filled with water in the sink. Swirl each artichoke upside down in the water. Make sure there is no dirt trapped between the leaves. Remove and discard the tough outer leaves. Cut the stems and trim the top a little. Cut the thorns from the leaves using a pair of scissors. This step is optional but it's always unpleasant to be "stabbed" by an artichoke leaf. 

Bring the water to a boil in a steamer. Throw the cut leaves and stems into the water of the steamer. Place the artichokes in the steamer, cover and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes until the bottoms of the vegetables are tender. A good way to check is to poke the choke with a pairing knife.

Remove from the steamer and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Slice it in two, length wise using a chef knife.

In a large pan, heat up some olive oil, get the garlic slightly golden then add the halved artichokes face down for about 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes. Pour the balsamic vinegar, then place the artichokes back so the balsamic glaze coats each one fully.

Plate the artichokes. Garnish with parsley and freshly shaved parseman cheese. Serve with the vinaigrette.


For the vinaigrette:

Pour more balsamic vinegar in the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and let it reduce until you have about more than a tablespoon of the balsamic syrup. Remove from the heat. Dissolve the sugar and honey then add the mustard and oils. Whisk the vinaigrette so that the mixture emulsifies. Add the fried onions. Season with fleur de sel and white peppercorns. Add chopped curly parsley.


Tips

For this recipe, I like jumbo-size artichokes because the bigger the artichoke, the bigger the heart. I like to pick them with dense, thightly packed leaves and sharp thorns. The stem should be still moist with a fresh light color, to check the freshness. 

Cooked artichokes do not refrigerate well.

You can keep the uncooked artichokes in the refrigerator for several days in the vegetable drawer. Make sure you wrap the stem with a moist paper towel to prevent from oxidation. Or alternatively, you can put them in a vase filled with room temperature slightly sweetened water. It's pretty and it reminds you that they need to be cooked.

If you're concerned about the apperance of the glaze, you can substitute with a white balsamic vinegar. I just did not have any left on hand.

For the vinaigrette, it's important that you emulsify all the ingredients while the vinegar syrup is still hot. It'll just make the process easier.

I like to use a strong oil (and avocado oil is quite pricey) and soften it with a more neutral oil for my vinaigrette.

Some people say to add lemon juice to the cooking liquid of the artichoke so it does not change color but I disagree. Artichokes, if eaten right away, still look appetizing, and I don't like what the lemon juice does to the flavor of vegetable.

Don't discard the artichoke broth. Strain it and drink it. I know it's not very tasty but go for it. As a teenager, my mom always would give us the artichoke broth to drink. She used to call it the detox diet drink for smooth, flawless skin, and it does work. It's a diuretic. Mom would always praises its therapeutic qualities and I guess it stuck with me. From time to time, I go through this diet.

My husband Lulu tried to plant artichokes two years ago. It isn't worth it. It takes a lot of space and does not produce enough usable vegetable for the amount of work it requires. You're better buying from your local market.

 

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on February 10, 2009.


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