Artichoke Hearts in a Garlic ‘Al Ajillo’ Sauce

Artichokes are very versatile and can be the star of any meal. They are very nutritious and have a lovely tangy taste and in this recipe they are cooked in a mellow garlic and wine sauce, very typical of Spanish cuisine. There is a fair bit of preparation in peeling and cutting the artichokes but the end result is worth it. It is quite important to rub lemon juice when you have peeled them to prevent oxidation (turning brown) and to soak them in a bowl of water and lemon juice if you are preparing them in advance.

The stalks are an extension of the artichoke heart which is the best part of the artichoke, so it is best not to cut them off. Once you start peeling you may find that there quite a lot that goes to waste, but these leaves can be used to make soups and infusions. I like to give them to my guinea pig, he loves them! Waste not, want not. This recipe makes 2 generous main dish servings or 4 starters.

Artichoke Hearts in a Garlic ‘Al Ajillo’ Sauce
Yield: 2 Servings
Difficulty: Medium
Cooking time:
Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

  • 8 artichokes (whole)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 400 ml water
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 2 lemons
  • 8 artichokes (whole)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1⅔ cups water
  • ⅔ cup of white wine
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 2 lemons

Instructions

  1. Fill a large bowl of water and add the juice of one lemon
  2. Start by peeling each artichoke by removing the outer layers which will remain tough when cooked. Remove about 5-6 layers of leaves. Chop the top part of each artichoke (about 3 centimetres) and discard. Cut the tip of each stalk, remove and leaves on it and peel so that the central inner stem is exposed. Peel the base of the artichoke of any leaves or tough parts. They oxidises quickly so rub the outside of the artichoke with a lemon half and place in the bowl with water and lemon until ready to use.
  3. Slice the cloves of garlic, and add to a large pan with the olive oil on a gently heat until just before they start to become golden.
  4. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and place in the pan, flat side down.
  5. Add the water and white wine and bring to a gentle to medium simmer and cook with the lid on.
  6. After 10 minutes turn them round and cook them for another 30-40 more minutes, stirring occasionally or turning them round, until soft.
  7. Uncover the lid, allow to reduce for a few more minutes and thicken the sauce by removing a few tablespoons of the sauce and adding it to the flour in a beaker or cup. Work to a paste and transfer back to the pan and stir it in gently.
  8. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Remove from the heat and serve with potatoes or rice.

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Felix Alvarez
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Felix Alvarez

Mum loves artichokes. Me too. This is going to be tried! Yum!