Miles Thompson, the chef of Allumette in Los Angeles, is all about the fundamentals. Though his menu spans the breadth of modernity, from caramelized anchovies to kimchi-ranch dressing, every dish achieves depth and backbone from a classic component. Case in point: the artichokes Barigoule foundation for his herbed sturgeon with poached huckleberries. Barigoule is a classic Provençal technique for braising artichokes a highly acidic broth, intense with onion and leeks. Served simply drizzled with the braising liquid, these artichokes are an austere tribute to the thorny thistle's tender heart.
Recipe adapted from Miles Thompson, Allumette, Los Angeles
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 50 minutes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
4 lemons, peeled with a vegetable peeler (reserve peel) and juiced
4 fresh bay leaves, roughly torn
2 pounds baby artichokes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green part only, thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Set a large, deep skillet on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Trace a circle around the skillet and onto the paper, cut out the circle and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add the broth, wine, water, lemon peel and juice and bay leaves. Trim the stem end of one baby artichoke, then snap off any tough outer leaves and use a vegetable peeler to peel away the tough outer part of the stem. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and place the halves in the bowl with the acidulated broth and water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
3. In a large, deep skillet set over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the leeks, onion, carrots, celery, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the peppercorns. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the artichokes to the skillet (save the broth-lemon water), increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes brighten in color, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, parsley, thyme and the broth-lemon water. Bring to a boil, then add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the artichokes flush with the parchment circle. Poach the artichokes until a paring knife easily slips into the center of the largest one, 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat, remove the parchment circle, and let the artichokes cool in the broth, about 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the artichokes to a medium bowl. Strain the poaching liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and over the artichokes (discard the vegetables and herbs). Serve the artichokes and sauce at room temperature, or warm in a saucepan before serving.