Michael Psilakis' Easter Side Dish
"This is a delicious match for roasted lamb or grilled lamb chops, especially with a little rice pilaf to soak up all the juices. The gaminess of the lamb is a perfect partner for the bold, rich flavor of the artichokes. It's a soulful combination."
Pull off the tough artichoke leaves until you reach the pale yellow leaves. Cut off the pointed tops about half an inch above the base. Trim the dark bits from the stem and base with a vegetable peeler. As you work, throw the trimmed artichokes into a bowl of cold water acidulated with the juice of 1 lemon.
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel, and sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and simmer briskly until completely evaporated. Add the drained artichokes, water, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer until the artichokes are soft and offer almost no resistance to the point of a knife, about 35 minutes.
Drain the artichokes and vegetables, reserving all the braising liquid (discard the bay leaves). Let cool for 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups of the braising liquid into a blender and add three quarters of the fennel and onion pieces (reserve the remaining vegetables and the artichokes). Purée until completely smooth. (Reserve the remaining braising liquid for another use.) Return the puréed liquid to the pan; simmer very actively over high heat to reduce and thicken the juices, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the Garlic Purée, the juice of the remaining lemon, and the dill. Return the artichokes and remaining vegetables to the pan. Reduce to a simmer and swirl in the butter until melted. Remove from the heat.
-Courtesy Michael Psilakis
-Food styled by Karen Pickus