This dish showcases the artichoke as a true centerpiece, and is a great alternative for a vegetarian at an Italian dinner party. I sometimes serve it as an appetizer before a fish course. I must say it is my favorite recipe from Judy Roger’s “Zuni Cafe” and I have cooked it a thousand times at least since I discovered it. This is kind of the morphed version.
(adapted from Judy Rogers “Zuni Café”)
- 4 medium sized Artichokes
- one red onion
- 2 lemons
- 2 handfuls of mint/torn roughly
- 10 black olives, pits removed
- 2 cloves of garlic/sliced thin or crushed
- half cup white wine
- 4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- sea salt/pepper to taste
- Oven proof paper/aluminum foil/ buthcher’s string
Preheat oven to 200 celcius.
First you will need to sweat your onion. Take a mandolin and slice your onion very thin. Cut off the tip of your lemon and slice also on the mandolin, removing the seeds as you go along. Place in a bowl with your olives, sea salt, garlic, mint, and olive oil.
Now you will need to trim your artichokes down. Take scissors and cut all the sharp bits off each leaf and tear away the bottom and first layer as it will be fibrous and tough. Take a knife and cut of top. Take a vegetable peeler and peel away first layer of stem and trim edge. Then cut in half. Take a spoon and clean out the “fur” and the red spikey leaves. Immediately rinse, and squeeze lemon juice over it so it does not brown. Repeat this process for all of your chokes and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt.
Get a baking dish and pile the lemon mint mixture into the dish and place your chokes on top, making sure to fill them with the mixture and scatter bits inside the leaves the best you can. Pour the wine into the dish as well. Make sure there is at least 3/4 of an inch of liquid in the dish in order for it to steam. Wrap first with your paper, tucking it into the sides as if you were wrapping a present. Then tie well with string to secure. Then wrap with aluminum foil. Everything should be completely sealed. Place into the oven for about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Make sure to test a leaf about 50 minutes in, it needs to pull off easily. When they are finished, take off all of the paper, turn the oven to grill, and roast the tops for another 5 minutes or until a bit charred. This will make the leaves in some places chewy, which sounds awful but tastes great. You can eat this with fresh homemade mayo or aioli, or simply as a side dish to grilled fish.