This recipe for Artichokes with Creamy Tarragon Vinaigrette is another in our series from food and travel writer Ann Mah’s new cookbook “Instantly French.” Her book provides instruction for creating classic French dishes with your modern electric pressure cooker.
“Many French families still serve lunch or dinner in four courses—entrée, plat, fromage, dessert—and the first course is often vegetables, because ‘they fill you up before the main dish,’ says my friend Thomas. In his family, the steamed artichoke, prepared in the pressure cooker and accompanied by tarragon vinaigrette, has always been the typical summer starter. (As I’ve discovered, artichokes and tarragon are considered a classic pairing in France, like tomatoes and basil in Italy.) If you can’t find tarragon flavored vinegar, use regular and stir in a pinch of fresh tarragon. Note that the cooking time of the artichokes will vary depending on their size.”
Copyright © 2018 by Ann Mah. Reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.
- 4-6 globe artichokes (1 per person)
- 1/2 lemon (optional)
- 2 tablespoons white wine tarragon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- To taste Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-4 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraiche (as desired)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs such as tarragon, parsley, chives, and/or basil (optional)
- 1 Prepare the artichokes by trimming the stem so the artichokes can stand upright. Using a serrated knife, slice off the top third of each artichoke. Remove any tough outer leaves. Using kitchen shears, cut the sharp thorns from the remaining exterior leaves. Pull out the leaves slightly to loosen them. If desired, rub the lemon against the cut surfaces of each artichoke to prevent browning.
- 2 Place the steaming rack in the pressure cooker and add 1 cup (250 ml) water. Arrange the artichokes stem-side down on the steaming rack. (Depending on their size, you may have to cook them in batches.) The pressure cooking time will vary depending on the size of the artichokes. Cook on high pressure for 4-6 minutes for small artichokes, 8-10 minutes for medium, and 12-14 for large.
- 3 While the artichokes cook, prepare the vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk the olive oil into the mustard-vinegar mixture. While whisking, add the sour cream 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk to emulsify the sauce. The sour cream will thicken the sauce, so add enough to suit your preference. Stir in the fresh herbs (if using). Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- 4 When the artichokes have finished cooking, manually release the steam. Transfer the artichokes to a plate or cutting board and test them by pulling at a leaf—if it slides out easily, it’s done. If there’s resistance, return the artichokes to the pressure cooker, close and lock the lid, and allow them to sit in the residual heat for 5 minutes before testing them again.
- 5 Serve the artichokes warm or at room temperature, dipping the leaves into the tarragon vinaigrette. When you get to the “choke”—the fuzzy center, which in French is called foin, or “hay”—use a spoon to scrape it away. Eat the remaining base and stem, which is the artichoke’s heart.