Often, artichokes seem like an intimidating ingredient, but the reward is great for very little effort. Here I've shared the steps to cut and clean artichokes, along with a simple, seasonal dish using fresh mint and olives.
Fill a bowl with water and add the fresh lemon juice. Remove the outer leaves of the artichokes and cut off the tops of the inner, more tender leaves. Discard. Cut the stem from the inner crown. Rub the cut pieces with lemon and place in the lemon water.With a small paring knife, remove the darker green, outer layer from the stems and bottom of the crowns and discard. Scrape the choke from the inner crown and discard. Return the cut pieces to the lemon water.Remove the pieces from the lemon water, pat dry, quarter the artichoke crowns and cut the stems in half.
In a large, wide saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the whole garlic clove and toast in the oil until fragrant and golden brown. Add the bay leaves and sprigs of fresh thyme, saute for a few minutes. Add the red chile flakes. Remove the garlic clove and discard.Lay the cut stems and crowns in the olive oil. Season the artichokes with salt to taste. Gently brown the artichokes, taking care to rotate to promote even cooking about 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the olives, anchovy fillets and tomato confit. Pour in the white wine. Braise the artichokes over medium-low heat until tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Once the artichokes are cooked, remove from the heat. Chop and add the mint leaves and serve immediately.