Tender baby artichokes and buttery green fava beans make a wonderful pairing in this springtime dish. Although they take a bit of prep, both ingredients are well worth experiencing at least once this season. The braise itself is simple to cook and also quite versatile — serve it as a side or spoon it over polenta or pasta for a main.
Braised Baby Artichokes with Fava Beans
1 1/2 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled
1 1/2 lemons, divided
1 1/2 pounds baby artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chiffonade of mint
Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fava beans and blanch for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fava beans to the ice water to cool. Drain the beans, peel off the skins, and set the beans aside.
Fill a large bowl with water and the juice of 1 lemon. Remove the tough outer leaves from each artichoke, trim the stem, and cut 1/2 inch off the top. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and drop it into the lemon water to prevent discoloration.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Drain the artichokes and add them to the skillet along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the artichokes until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Add 3/4 cup water and juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat until the artichokes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium. Stir in the fava beans, parsley, and mint and cook until the fava beans are heated through. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm.