Tradition usually calls for this appetizer to be served with some sort of dressed up mayonnaise but, I prefer the tang of beurre blanc. My recipe calls for less butter leaving behind a more prominent vinegar flavor, which is set off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a little zest and fresh picked thyme. The combination surprisingly balances the vinegar and adds a wonderful freshness that compliments roasted artichokes so well.
To prepare the artichokes, simply cut the stems, peel off the outer layer of tough leaves then cut the tops about an inch to an inch and a half in. Rub them with lemon, and then blanch in salted boiling water for about 8 minutes until a knife pricked into the base penetrates easily. Remove from the water and let drain upside down for 5 minutes before drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper then baking in a 425 degree oven until fully tender.
Beurre blanc is one of those amazing french sauces which name translates to “white butter” – it is best served hot, and is traditionally made by reducing vinegar, white wine and shallots together then beating in cut up whole butter off the heat until emulsified. In this instance, water and oil blend beautifully together creating a light, almost crisp sauce that is complemented by the addition of fresh herbs.
½ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup white wine
1 small shallot, minced
½ cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 tsp fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
In a small sauce pan bring the vinegar, wine and shallots to a boil reducing to about three tablespoons in volume. Once reduced, remove from the heat, and start whisking in the cubes of butter (no more than two at a time) until completely incorporated and emulsified. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.