Braised artichokes, preserved lemon & fingerling potatoes with basil creme fraiche

Braised artichokes, preserved lemon & fingerling potatoes with basil creme fraiche

By
From
New Feast
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

There’s no denying that preparing fresh artichokes is a labour of love, but every year, as spring rolls around, we find ourselves craving them. This dish uses one of our favourite Eastern Mediterranean cooking techniques, of braising vegetables slowly in an oil-rich, aromatic liquor. We let the artichokes’ flavour sing through, sharpened with preserved lemon and paired with creamy-fleshed, new-season fingerling potatoes. Any small, stubby or heritage-style, waxy potato will work well here; try nutty kipflers or, if you live in the UK, sweet Jersey Royals. With its smooth basil cream topping this dish is lovely served hot, warm or even cold.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 lemon
4 large globe artichokes
or 250g artichoke hearts
200g small fingerling or kipfler potatoes, peeled if you like
1/2 preserved lemon, cut into chunks
8 small shallots, peeled
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
2 bay leaves
generous handful thyme sprigs, roughly torn
2 sprigs rosemary, roughly torn
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, roughly crushed
1/4 teaspoon turkish red chilli flakes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
100ml vermouth or dry white wine
400ml vegetable stock
100ml extra-virgin olive oil

Basil creme fraiche

Quantity Ingredient
80ml creme fraiche
1/2 lemon, finely grated zest
50g grated parmesan
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Prepare a bowl of cold water, acidulated with the juice of 1 lemon. Trim the artichoke stems, leaving about 4 cm, and peel away the tough outer layer. Remove the outer hard leaves until you get to the lighter coloured inner leaves. Cut through the artichoke crossways, just above the heart, to remove all the leaves. Use a sharp knife or melon baller to remove the choke. Cut the artichokes in half lengthways, then drop them into the lemon water.
  3. Put all the vegetables in a medium roasting tin and tuck the herbs in among them. Scatter on the coriander and chilli flakes and season with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pour in the wine, stock and oil and cover the tin with a sheet of greaseproof paper, followed by a sheet of foil.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and paper and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  5. While the vegetables are braising, combine the creme fraiche, lemon zest and parmesan in a small saucepan and heat gently until the parmesan melts.
  6. Transfer the vegetables and some of the braising liquor to a serving dish and season with a little extra salt and pepper. Tear the basil leaves roughly and add them to the creme fraiche. Spoon over the vegetables and serve.
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