Grate the zest from the lemon, and cut the lemon in half. If the artichokes have long stalks, break these off near the base, and rub the broken surfaces with the cut lemon to keep them from browning. Peel the stalks down to the tender centre, and drop in a bowl of water to which you have added some lemon juice. Break off the coarse outer leaves of the artichokes, and then snip off the coarse tips of the remaining leaves until you have removed all the tough fibrous part. Each cut surface should be rubbed with the lemon to prevent it darkening. The choke is dealt with later. (There is no need to cut off the leaf tips unless you have artichokes with sharp spiny points to the leaves.)
Strip the mint and parsley leaves from the stems. Chop the leaves and put the stems, together with some of the lemon zest, in a large saucepan of water. Season lightly and bring to the boil, then add the artichokes and cook for 15–20 minutes. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, open out the centre and remove the hairy choke without removing the tender base, which is the best part of the artichoke. Put the artichokes back in the pan with the olive oil and white wine, chopped herbs and zest, keeping a little of the green herbs and yellow zest back to sprinkle on the artichokes before serving. Cover and cook over a low heat until the artichokes are tender. Serve in shallow soup plates, scattered with the remaining herbs and zest. Eat with a knife and fork or your fingers.
The peeled stalks can be cooked with the artichokes and then used in soup or as a salad ingredient.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.