I have always loved artichokes. They have such beautiful colors, they taste great and are great detoxifiers - if you don't eat them with buttersauce that is....
But I had never heard of artichoke ragout or "Artichauts en Barrigoule" - a very Provençal recipe that Laurent (see pic below) told me about when I met him at Vaison's Tuesday market with a basket full of "petits violets". Laurent is not only a great chef but he also comes from Bretagne, the land of artichokes, so no wonder he knows everything about them. The recipe he told me about sounded rather complicated so to my great delight, Laurent offered to give me a private artichoke cooking class in my very own kitchen.
But first, I had to get: A bunch or two or three (depending on how many you want to feed) of "les petits violets" - small artichokes, two or three carrots, a few cloves of garlic, a laurel leaf, two or three small mild onions, olive oil and a bottle of dry white wine.
First you have to trim the artichokes: remove the tough outer leaves
trim and peel the stalk
to prevent oxydation, soak in lemon water
finely chop all other ingredients
take out the "straw"with a melon baller
When all your artichokes are evenly and prettily trimmed
softly fry all ingredients in a splash of olive oil
Then, after a little while add two quarters of the bottle of white wine and let simmer gently until the artichokes are soft but still al dente. Artichauts en Barigoule, served at room temperature with baguette on the side make a great starter. They are also a wonderful side dish to roasted lamb.
Artichauts en Barigoule