Braised Artichoke Antipasto

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This antipasto is a homemade, and better, version of the sort you find in jars at an Italian deli. If you can get baby artichokes, they are lovely braised this way, but medium artichokes work well too. (Zucchini or eggplant are also options.) They’re simmered in a fair amount of olive oil with aromatics, tomato, white wine, and a touch of vinegar. Delicious warm, they are even better served at room temperature.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 pounds baby artichokes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup diced peeled tomato
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint

Method

Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl of cold water. Peel the tough outer leaves from each artichoke, then trim the top and stem end of each artichoke and halve lengthwise. Place in the acidulated water to keep them from darkening. (If using medium artichokes, remove the tough outer leaves, cut 1 inch off the top of each, and trim the stem end. Halve lengthwise and remove the central hairy choke with a soupspoon. Cut into quarters or sixths and place in the acidulated water.)

In a wide stainless steel skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and carrot, season with salt and pepper, and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the red pepper flakes, diced tomato, and vinegar, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute. Add the drained artichokes and the wine, season once more with salt, and put on the lid. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the artichokes are tender.

Add the marjoram, mix the artichokes and vegetables gently, and transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Let marinate for several hours or refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature. Just before serving, sprinkle with the freshly chopped parsley and mint.