Baked Artichokes with Coddled Eggs Niçoise

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

A Passion for Vegetables

By Paul Gayler

Published 1999

  • About

Ingredients

  • 4 medium to large globe artichokes
  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) dry white wine
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) water
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) double cream
  • 2 plum tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and cut into small dice
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Baking eggs inside vegetable shells is not a new idea but it does make for a rather dramatic presentation.

    With a large, sharp knife, slice one third off the top of each artichoke. Pull off the outer leaves and discard them. Break the artichoke stems at the base, then trim about 5mm (¼in) from the base.

    Use the butter to grease a flameproof casserole just large enough to hold the artichokes. Place the artichokes in it and pour over the wine and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 15-20 minutes or until just tender; test the base of each artichoke with the point of a knife. Remove the artichokes from the flameproof casserole, reserving the cooking liquid, and leave them to cool, placed upside down to drain off any liquid.

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. To create a central cavity in each artichoke, pull out the small inner leaves, then use a teaspoon to scrape out the fibrous choke. Place the artichokes in a baking dish and crack an egg into the centre of each one. Season generously with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until the eggs are lightly set. Meanwhile, make the sauce: reheat the cooking liquid, then add the cream and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and basil and season to taste.

    Place each artichoke on a serving plate, coat lightly with the sauce and serve immediately.