You might be surprised to find how useful a pot of braised artichokes can be. You can of course serve them warm or at room temperature as an appetizer or part of a mixed antipasto spread, but they’re also great sliced into salads. Or try adding black olives to the braise and using it as a sauce for pasta; finish with an aged pecorino and a ton of good extra virgin olive oil. If you skip the cheese, “the sauce” works beautifully with fish. Once made and covered with oil, the artichokes will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
2 lemons, halved
4 large artichokes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus additional for serving
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 small peperoncini, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
, preferably Sicilian
1 large onion, peeled, halved, and thickly sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken broth or 1/4 cup chicken broth powder Sea salt
cracked black pepper
Squeeze the lemons into a large bowl and add about 2 quarts of water. Trim each artichoke, removing the stem, leaves, and choke and leaving only the bottom. As you work, rub newly exposed bits of the artichokes with a lemon half to prevent browning. Keep the trimmed artichoke bottoms in the lemon water until you are ready to cook them. Put the oil, garlic, peperoncini, and oregano in a high-sided skillet and turn the heat on low. Gently warm the oil, cooking until the garlic softens and becomes fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the onion and rosemary and stir to coat with the flavored oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion just begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
Drain the artichoke bottoms and add them to the pan. Stir and cook over medium heat until the artichokes start to look less raw, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar, and broth. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat once more to low. Simmer, partially covered, until the artichokes are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the artichokes to cool in the braising liquid. Serve warm or at room temperature dressed with oil and plenty of sea salt and cracked pepper.
In the restaurant, I cover the pan of artichokes with a circle of parchment paper -- it breathes just enough. At home, I use a lid set slightly askew to get the same effect.
Rubbing the artichokes with lemon as you cut them prevents browning, as does holding them in lemon water. The artichokes can be prepared up to a day in advance.