I always have been intimidated by fresh Artichokes, but this season I decided to give them a try. I cooked them various ways for more than a week and after eating more than 15 of them, I ended up with the following recipe. The end result is perfectly cooked artichokes with complex flavor and spring freshness. —Iglika Petrova/Sprig of Thyme
Juice the first lemon and zest 1/2 of it. Place the zest in a bowl, cover and set aside. Pour the juice in a large pot with 1/2 cup of water and the wine. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim the dark end of the stem and peel 3-4 layers of the outer tough leaves. Trim about 1 inch from the top and peel the fibrous green stem and leaf ends using a vegetable peeler. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and scoop the choke with a spoon. Place each cleaned half cut side down in the pot with the lemon/wine mixture.
Add 3 of the garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp of salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes turning artichokes half-way through. The artichokes are done when a knife tip is inserted to the heart and the flesh is as soft as a cooked potato.
Meanwhile, make the remaining garlic clove into a paste and place in the bowl with the lemon zest. Add parsley, dill, the juice of the remaining lemon, 2 tbls olive oil and 1/4 tsp of salt. Mix well and set aside.
Place the artichokes on a large plate and spoon about 1 tsp of the marinade on each one, making sure that some of the marinade gets in between the leaves. Let them cool for 10 min.
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom or cast iron skillet. Add the artichoke halves cut side down and lower heat to a medium-high. Cook until golden brown, for about 1 minute, turn the artichokes and cook for additional 30 seconds. Transfer the artichokes to a large plate. Add the walnuts to the marinade, mix well and spoon about half of the mixture over the artichokes.
Serve while still warm with a side of the remaining marinade.