In this versatile dish from Tinos Island, the acidity of the sauce is a good contrast to the sweetness of the artichokes, which are traditionally cooked with fresh fava beans. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish with lamb, poultry, or fish. It keeps very well in the refrigerator.
Makes 8 servings
• 1½ quarts cold water
• 2 lemons, quartered, plus about 1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice • 20 baby artichokes with stems, or 8 to 10 large artichoke hearts
• ½ pound shelled fresh fava beans or 1 cup peas (optional) • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 8 scallions (white and most of the green parts), thinly sliced • 4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
• 1½ cups dry white wine • 1 cup chopped fresh dill
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the artichokes:
Fill a bowl with the water and squeeze the juice from the lemon quarters into it; reserve the lemon quarters. Trim the stem of each artichoke to about one inch. Snap off the bottom three rows of leaves, rubbing the cut surfaces frequently with the lemon quarters as you work. Cut off the tip of each artichoke. Halve each artichoke and rub generously with the lemon quarters. Using a knife or a grapefruit spoon, remove the choke from the center of each artichoke. Place each prepared artichoke in the bowl of lemon water.
Prepare the main dish:
In a large, deep skillet, heat a quarter-cup of the oil and sauté the scallions over medium heat for three to four minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute more; do not let it color. Add the artichokes, and fava beans or peas, if using, wine, the remaining quarter-cup oil, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, or until the artichokes are almost tender.
Add half a cup of the dill, two and a half tablespoons of the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for five minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more lemon juice if necessary. The artichokes should have a distinct lemon flavor. Remove from the heat and let the artichokes cool in the liquid. Sprinkle with the remaining half a cup of dill and serve at room temperature. (You can store the artichokes in the liquid in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let come to room temperature before serving.)
To read about Aglaia's first successful crop of artichokes, and to see a slide show of how to prepare them, click here.