I saw a woman at the vegetable stand buying two large, purple, globe artichokes. Because I had never cooked a purple globe artichoke, I asked her how she planned to prepare it. She replied, “You have to cook them.” Sotto voce: “Dumb bunny American!” I replied, “Thank you.” Sotto voce: “Ignorant French cow!” We smiled at each other artificially as we parted.
I bought two also because I like artichokes and though not the same color as our California artichokes, I thought they looked interesting. I don’t really care for stuffing the artichokes with bread crumbs; it’s okay but I think it’s some how too bulky. I found this great recipe at Food Republic that I changed very little. When you fill and broil the artichokes, you end up with a golden crust that you break open to access the rich bubbling sauce in which you dip the leaves. This very same sauce trickles down and through the whole artichoke. By the time you arrive at the heart, you feel a swoon coming on :)
I do recommend that you remove the choke before steaming the artichokes. You don’t want it in the way when you are savoring the artichoke heart with this totally decadent sauce. Although the artichoke preparation is a little fiddly, this is an easy recipe and well worth the trouble.
Artichoke with Brie de Meaux Sauce
2 large globe artichokes
1 large pan of cold water
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 lemon slice
1 bay leaf
1 large garlic clove, smashed
4 ounces brie de Meaux
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp crushed almonds
Cut off the tips of the outside leaves in an attractive manner. Cut off the stem so that the artichokes can sit level in the baking pan. Remove the soft leaves at the center of the artichoke until you can reach and scrape out the choke. Place the artichokes in the cold water with the lemon juice.
Bring to boil about 2 inches of water with the lemon slice, garlic clove and bay leaf. Place the artichokes in a steamer basket, cover and steam for 30 minutes. Remove and drain, top side down in a colander.
Over a low flame, melt the brie in the cream. When smooth, turn off the flame and add the egg yolk, 1/4 cup of the parmesan, thyme and almonds. Stir until well blended.
Place the artichokes in an oiled baking pan, fill the artichokes to over flowing with the sauce, sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan and a few almond flakes, then broil until golden brown.