Silky and chewy all at the same time. These baked artichokes are a wonderful combination of tastes and textures.
These are even better after a night in the refrigerator as they get even silkier.
- 2 pound thinly sliced sweet yellow onions
- .75 cup olive oil
- sea salt
- 3 clove garlic, slivered
- ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted & rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 4 bright green, tightly closed artichokes, 3 ½ inches in diameter
- crusty bread or cooked pasta, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Toss the onions with about ½ cup of the olive oil and about 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt Add the garlic, olives, and rosemary.
Toss the lemon slices with the onion mixture, add the white wine, and set aside to let the onions soften and “weep” their moisture while you trim the artichokes.
Trim the bottom of the stem of each artichoke slightly, leaving as much as possible attached, then carefully peel the stalk. Remove badly damaged or dry outer leaves. Trim the thorns with scissors or slice them off with a sharp paring knife. Cut the artichoke in half, and then use a stainless steel spoon or paring knife to carve under and remove the thistly choke, leaving the meaty bottom intact. Rinse in cold water; don’t drain well– a little water between the leaves helps ensure that the artichokes cook thoroughly and evenly.
Sprinkle the artichokes with salt, squeezing and folding them so some salt falls between the leaves. Drizzle and rub with the remaining olive oil to coat thoroughly, and then squeeze the halves so you can trickle and rub some oil between the leaves.
Spread the juicy onion mixture about 1 ½ inches deep in a large, flameproof baking dish (such as a 10- by 14-inch lasagna pan). The liquid should be about ½ inch deep; if not, add a little water. Nestle the artichokes cut side down in the bed of onions. They will be crowded.
Cover tightly– first with parchment paper, then foil, dull side out– and bake until you can easily pull out a second-tier leaf and the pulp at its base is tender. This usually takes about 1 ½ hours; the exact size of the artichokes, as well as the baking dish and oven performance, will affect the cooking time. Be aware that the outermost layer of leaves will emerge a little leathery, but tasty and edible.
Once a test leaf is tender, raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F, uncover, and bake for about 15 minutes longer to concentrate the flavors and lightly brown the tips of the vegetables. Serve hot, warm, or cold, as is, or with homemade mayonnaise flavored with lemon, garlic, or a few chopped anchovy fillets. Include some good crusty bread for scooping up the onion mixture, or toss the onions with some cooked pasta to serve on the side.