Tuscan-style Baby Artichokes
16 baby artichokes
2 lemons, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. fresh Italian herbs (a mix of any of the following: sage, rosemary, thyme, basil)
1 tsp. anchovy paste (or 2 fillets canned anchovy, chopped), optional
1 tsp. ground black pepper
Sea salt (fleur de sel is best)
In a large bowl, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and add 8 cups of cold water.
Remove several layers (at least 3 layers) of the outer tough leaves from each artichoke until you reach the pale yellowish inner leaves. Pull off more leaves that you think - the outer leaves are tough. Cut off about 1/2 inch from the top. Cut off the the stem, if present. Cut the artichoke in half, lengthwise, and place in the lemon water to keep from browning.
Over medium-high heat, warm a large skillet. Add the olive oil to the skillet and heat until smoking. While the oil is heating, drain the artichokes well and place between two kitchen towels or several layers of paper towel and press down to remove as much moisture as possible.
Place the artichokes in the smoking-hot oil and turn to sear on all sides. After a couple minutes, add the garlic, herbs, anchovy paste, and pepper, and stir frequently until the artichokes are tender (the outer edges should be crispy brown). Cook time will vary but expect 10-15 minutes until they are browned and tender. Remove to a serving platter, sprinkle generously with sea salt, squeeze remaining lemon over it and serve while warm or at room temperature.
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