Artichokes are especially suited to the sous vide technique because when they’re cooked traditionally in water on the stove top, much of the flavor leaches out. It’s also difficult to manage proper cooking times with conventional methods, and all too often, artichokes end up soggy and flavorless.
In this recipe a simple marinade of olive oil, lemon zest, and garlic adds terrific flavor to the artichokes, so a dipping sauce is not even needed. Make sure you allow at least 2 hours of refrigeration before cooking so the marinade has time to work its magic. These artichokes are great party fare, or you can add them to salads, or serve as a vegetable course.
Serves 4 (1 artichoke per person)
- Preheat the water bath to 185°F (85°C).
- Finely grate the zest of 1 lemon into a large bowl. Cut all 4 lemons in half and set aside. Add the oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to the lemon zest and whisk to combine the marinade.
- Work with one artichoke at a time to prevent discoloring from oxidation. Trim off and discard the bottom ½ inch of the stem. Break off any small leaves on the stem, then peel the stem with a vegetable parer or small knife. Rub the stem with a cut lemon. Remove the first 3 layers of outer leaves, starting at the base, by bending back a leaf until it snaps, then pulling down to remove the leaf. With a vegetable parer or small knife, trim away the tough outer skin remaining from the discarded leaves. Rub this area with lemon. Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard the top third of the artichoke. Rub the cut area with lemon.
- Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise through the stem end. Cut each half in half again (lengthwise) to create a total of 4 wedges. If the artichoke is very large, cut it into 6 wedges. Rub all cut surfaces with one of the lemon halves. Remove 5 or 6 layers of the pale, inner leaves and use a small spoon to remove the hairy choke. Rub all over with lemon. Transfer the wedges to the bowl with the olive oil mixture and toss to coat all surfaces of the artichokes. Repeat with the remaining 3 artichokes.
- Transfer the artichokes to a bag, adding any remaining marinade from the bowl. Arrange the wedges in a single layer, and vacuum seal. It may be necessary to use several bags. Refrigerate the bag(s) for 2 hours to allow the marinade to infuse.
- Place the bags in the water bath and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Transfer the artichokes to a platter and sprinkle with the parsley. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired. Serve the artichokes hot or at room temperature.