Pan-Seared Artichokes with Lemon and Thyme
Artichoke hearts, by themselves, are nutty and slightly sweet, with a toothy, buttery texture and mildly bitter finish. The warm, infused olive oil in this recipe permeates the leaves and hearts, enhancing their sweetness, while fresh lemon zest balances the bitter undertones.
Pan Seared Artichokes with Lemon and Thyme
Yields: 4 Servings
Method: Pan Frying
Allergy Info: soy-free, gluten-free
2 globe artichokes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed (split but still whole)
7 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large lemon, or 2 small, zested and cut in half
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Starting at the base of the artichoke, closest to the stem, remove approximately 4 layers of outer leaves on each artichoke, discard leaves. Cut 1” off the top of each artichoke, removing the prickly ends of the leaves. Peel the stem with a vegetable peeler to remove the fibrous skin, and trim about 1/4” off the bottom of the stem. Cut artichokes lengthwise, into 4 quarters, leaving the stems intact. Immediately rub half of the lemon over the cut/exposed areas of the artichoke to prevent browning/oxidation. Remove the choke – the fuzzy layer and prickly inner leaves – with a paring knife or grapefruit spoon.
Blanch the artichokes in salted, simmering water, uncovered until just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry. Set aside.
Add olive oil, garlic and thyme to a large skillet and heat on medium-low to warm. When the oil becomes fragrant, increase the heat to medium and add the artichokes to the pan in a single layer. Sear the artichokes until they turn golden brown on one side, season with salt and pepper, then gently flip to brown the second side. Season the second side with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest. Toss to coat.
Artichokes can be served warm or chilled and go well with melted butter, Hollandaise, herbed mayonnaise or aioli for dipping.
Look for artichokes with dark green large, tight heads that feel heavy for their size. Avoid artichokes that look dry, have begun to open, or that have many bruises on the outer leaves.
Artichokes, when exposed to air, oxidize quickly. Wear gloves to prevent fingers and nail beds from turning brown when handling the raw artichokes.
When blanching artichokes, test for tenderness/doneness with the tip of a knife. When the knife slides in easily but still offers a little resistance, the artichokes will be perfectly blanched and ready for the skillet.