Saffron artichokes

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SERVES
3
 TO
4

Ingredients

Artichokes

  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) saffron
  • 2 cups (470 ml) white wine
  • 3 medium artichokes
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

Chilli-Lemon Oil

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red chillies, minced
  • 1 zest and juice of a lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped

Directions

For the Artichokes

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C).
  2. In a small pan, bring saffron and white wine to a boil, remove from heat, cover and steep for at least 1 minute. Reserve until needed.
  3. Prepare a bowl of acidulated water; fill a large bowl or round vessel with enough cold water to cover the artichokes, then slice and squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the squeezed-out lemons, peel and all, right into the water.

To Trim the Artichokes

  1. Slice ½ inch (1.25 cm) off the bottom of the artichoke stems, and 1 inch (2.5 cm) off the top leaves.
  2. Remove and discard any small leaves toward the base of the artichoke.
  3. Slice in half vertically and use a small, sturdy spoon to scoop out the fuzzy “choke” in the middle of the artichoke.
  4. Use kitchen shears to trim ¼ inch (6 mm) from the pointy tips of each of the leaves.

As you finish trimming each half, add the halves to the acidulated water, using a plate as a weight over top to keep them submerged.

  1. Heat a wide, oven-ready skillet over high heat (if possible, choose a pan with a tight-fitting lid).
  2. When hot, add the olive oil, then arrange the trimmed artichoke halves, cut-side-down, in a single layer and sear for 2-3 minutes until starting to colour.
  3. Add the saffron and white wine and bring all to a boil over high heat.
  4. Cover the skillet with a lid (or foil) and bake for 20 minutes, until the base of the artichoke is easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.
  5. Uncover, flip the artichokes, and bake for 5 minutes, allowing the cut side to dry out and colour a bit.

For the Chili-Lemon Oil

  1. While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the Chili-Lemon Oil. In a small pot over medium heat, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, chili, and salt. Heat until sizzling, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. When cool, stir in the lemon juice and parsley.

To Serve

  1. Serve the artichokes warm, cut side up, with Chili-Lemon Oil on the side, for dipping. Enjoy!