Here is a quick and tasty way to cook young artichokes: thin-sliced, slowly braised in a skillet in their own juices, and served with a shower of soft pecorino. The method is simple, and will yield delicious results even with the larger, more mature artichokes you’ll find in the supermarket. This dish makes a great vegetarian sandwich or for a carnivore a topping for a juicy hamburger. Artichokes prepared this way are also a great appetizer topped with a poached egg or a thin slice of prosciutto.
- 1 lemon (for acidulated water)
- 2 pounds small artichokes (or more if using large ones)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 sliced garlic cloves
- 2 cups chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon peperoncino or to taste
- 1 cup shredded pecorino (6 to 8 months old) or mild cheddar
Trim the artichokes, slice very thinly and soak the slices in acidulated water (see Trimming and Slicing Artichokes).
Pour the olive oil into the skillet, set it over medium heat. Scatter the garlic and onion in the pan. Cook for 4 minutes or so, stirring and tossing occasionally; season with the salt and peperoncino. When the vegetables are sizzling and wilting, lift the artichoke slices from the acidulated water, drain briefly and drop them into the skillet. Stir well, cover the pan tightly and let everything cook slowly, giving the pan a shake now and then.
After 10 minutes, the artichoke slices should be softening—if they’re hard and the pan is dry, add a couple spoonfuls of acidulated water and continue covered cooking.
Braise for 15 to 20 minutes total, until the artichokes are tender and lightly colored. Cook uncovered for more caramelization if you like.
Turn off the heat and spread the artichokes out in the skillet bottom. Scatter the shredded cheese evenly on top and cover the pan. Let it melt into the vegetables for several minutes before serving.