Artichoke Bottoms Stuffed with Fava Bean Puree


Richard Olney told me of the natural marriage of savory and fava beans and, as he made the dish, described how it was de rigueur in the nineteenth century as a garnish with roasted meats. It is easy to see why it never appears in restaurants today: the prodigious amounts of fava beans required to make the puree in any quantity, and the labor it takes to peel them. But the dish can be appreciated in the home because to make it for four is not all that daunting and well worth the effort.



Cut half the top off each artichoke. With a stainless-steel paring knife, continue to cut around the artichoke, rotating it in your hand as you cut, until only the very bases of the leaves remain on the bottom of each artichoke. Cut out the chokes or center fibers. Trim the stem to ⅛ inch.

Squeeze the lemon into a pot of salted water and add the lemon halves. Bring to a boil. Add the artichoke bottoms and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove them and plunge into ice water for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Take all the beans out of the pods; remove the outer pale green skins from the beans. Put the beans and savory in a pot and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat; then simmer for 8 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid and beans separately. Put the beans through the medium blade of a food mill or puree in a food processor, using up to half the cooking liquid to help the process. Press the puree through a fine sieve. Cover and set aside.

Put the artichoke bottoms in a sauté pan just large enough to hold them. Add the remaining bean-cooking stock and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. While they are cooking, put the bean puree in a double boiler and heat it. When it is hot, add ½ cup of the butter and stir it in. Season, remove from the heat, and keep warm.

Put the pepper purees in separate saucepans. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Divide the remaining butter in half and whisk one half into each puree.

Remove the cover from the artichoke pan. Spoon bean puree into the artichoke bottoms. Spoon some of the yellow puree onto the center of each warm plate, the red puree around the edges, and place the filled bottoms in the center. Heat the beans for 1 minute over boiling water and spoon them around the artichokes.