Imagine life without artichokes.
You will not be able to, after tasting artichoke recipes like this one from Cooking Blokes and Artichokes, A Modern Man's Kitchen Handbook (Kyle Books, April 2016) by chef Brendan Collins of Birch restaurant in Los Angeles.
Roasted Baby Artichokes With Bacon And Balsamic Vinegar
For the past fifteen years or so, it seems like every restaurant in the western hemisphere has had Brussels sprouts, bacon, and balsamic vinegar on its menu, and I’m guilty of it too. But it’s with good reason: the dish is seriously tasty. When I opened my new Hollywood restaurant, Birch, I wanted to do something equally as delicious but a little bit different. So I substituted baby artichokes, in season in the spring and summer, to freshen up a wintery dish for the warmer months. Baby artichokes have the same earthiness as Brussels sprouts, but with a unique, sweet nuttiness too.
SERVES 4 TO 6
9 baby artichokes (about 2 pounds)
2 lemons, cut in half
8 ounces thick−cut bacon, cut into 1/2−inch lardons
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons good−quality balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra−virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Prep each artichoke by removing the tough outer leaves and peeling the outer layer from the stem with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Cut off the top third of the artichoke to remove the tough ends of the leaves. Cut them in half lengthwise and give them a rub all over with one of the lemons as you work so they don’t oxidize and turn an unappealing brown color.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place a frying pan big enough to fit the artichokes in a single layer over medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of their fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate.
Add the artichokes to the hot bacon fat in a single layer and let them brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and tender.
Remove the pan from the oven and add the bacon back in, along with the rosemary and garlic. Return the pan to a burner over medium heat. Give your best go at sautéing, tossing the ingredients around; if you drop some, don’t worry, the dog will love you for it. Season with salt.
Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, and let the vinegar reduce until sticky but not burnt, about 1 minute.
Transfer the artichokes and bacon to a serving bowl, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.