To learn more, read "Spring Fling" in our National edition. See all the recipes in this story: Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Pounded Herbs and Green Garlic; Crispy Potatoes with Saffron Aioli; Gem Lettuce with Crème Fraîche, Breakfast Radishes and Toasted Breadcrumbs and Almond Cake with Macerated Strawberries and Cardamom Cream.
Baby Artichokes with Toasted Hazelnuts and Green Olives
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
¼ cup hazelnuts
¼ cup pitted green olives, preferably Lucques or Picholines, finely chopped
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2¼ teaspoons salt
6 cups water
4½ pounds baby artichokes
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop hazelnuts and place in a small bowl. Add the chopped olives, 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt, mix, then set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of water and the juice from the lemons. Trim a ¼ inch off the stem and a ¼ inch off the top of each artichoke, then snap off any tough outer leaves to reveal the pale yellow inner leaves. Use a vegetable peeler to peel away the tough outer layer of the stem. Halve the artichokes lengthwise and place the halves in the bowl of lemon water.
3. Put the remaining olive oil in a large, deep skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not colored, about 5 minutes.
4. Drain the artichokes and transfer to the skillet. Increase the heat to high. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the remaining salt and two cups of water and cook, covered, until the artichokes can be easily pierced with a paring knife, about 15 minutes.
5. Use a slotted spoon to transfer artichokes to a platter. Increase the heat to high and boil the braising liquid until it is reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Pour the liquid over the artichokes and serve with the hazelnut and olive mixture on top.