There are some recipes that you have been hanging onto for ages and you just keep telling yourself how you're going to make this recipe. It sounds too good and it has all your favorite ingredients, yet you haven't made it yet. Maybe it isn't the right season for the ingredients, or when it is, you forget about the recipe entirely. This recipe is exactly that for me.
I originally saw this recipe for "Artichoke Provençal" by Mark Bittman two years ago while skimming through NY Times Online Dining section. That's right, I have been holding onto this recipe hoping to make it for two years. I procrastinate and it's lame, but alas here I am: I have finally made it, not once but twice! Yes, it's that good.
Bittman talks about serving this as a lunch or light supper with some crusty bread, but being gluten intolerant I cannot have it with some crusty bread so I opted for my brother's herb roasted fingerling potato fries instead and found it be (so I imagine) the better match.
The herb roasted fingerling potatoes also is an awesome recipe and since my brother turned me on to serving fingerlings this way we can't get enough of them in our house. We've probably had herb roasted fingerlings once a week for the past month. I'm not kidding you they are that good. Probably not the healthiest, but pretty darn tasty!
I had some left over garlic spears which I threw in for added flavor and to use up the rest of them. Although, this dish isn't a traditional Provençal dish it does have a lot of Provençal items like herbs, olives, fresh produce and garlic.
Artichokes are by far my favorite food, which is why initially I was drawn to making this recipe. When I was younger my mom use to take me to Claimjumper where they had these amazing fire roasted artichokes she later learned how to make them and would grill them for me quite often. Steamed artichokes were actually the first thing that I taught myself to make and lived on a steady diet of them for quite some time. My family use to joke that all I could make was toast and artichokes. And here I am a little more kitchen savvy and back to cooking artichokes!
Artichoke Provençal serves 2-4 (4 for lunch or 2 for dinner)
Adapted from Mark Bittman
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 whole cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary (I used thyme)
1/2 cup flavorful olives, pitted (I used unpitted because they taste better and I don't mind removing the pits)
12 baby artichokes
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or whole
2 tablespoons chopped herbs for garnish (I used parsley and basil)
Fill a mixing bowl with cold water and the juice of half a lemon. Prepare artichokes by removing tough outer leaves, until pale leaves show, then cut off spiky end about a half inch down from the top. Trim bottoms and cut artichokes in half. Rub with juiced lemon and place in bowl.
Meanwhile combine oil and garlic in a large skillet and heat over low heat. Once garlic begins to sizzle add olives, herbs and a pinch of salt.
Drain artichokes and pat dry. Add artichokes cut side down and once about half the artichokes are in the pan raise the heat to medium so they begin to brown. Move artichokes around as you add more so they brown evenly.
Once artichokes have browned, add tomatoes and a splash of water and cover pan. Cook until chokes are tender and can be pierced with a fork. Add more water if necessary. Serve on a serving platter and garnish with herbs.
Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes serves 4
Adapted from my brother's recipe
1 lb of fingerling potatoes, depending on size cut into 1/4 or 1/8 wedges (I used a combo of red and gold fingerling)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons herbs d' provence
coarse sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine potatoes and olive oil, use fingers to mix well and evenly coat potatoes with oil. Sprinkle in herbs d'provence and mix until distributed evenly and potatoes are covered. Spread potatoes out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with coarse sea salt and cracked pepper.
Roast for 25 minutes and then flip potatoes, and roast for another 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are golden and crispy. Allow to cool a bit and then serve.