Yield: 4 servings
4 fresh large artichokes
12 ounces double-cream Brie cheese
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Ground white pepper
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Meanwhile, cut off artichoke stems and slice 1/2 inch off the top of each. Add artichokes to boiling water. Place a plate on the surface of the water to keep the artichokes submerged. Boil for exactly 25 minutes.
2. Using tongs, carefully remove artichokes. Transfer immediately to a large bowl of ice water. Let cool completely, then remove from ice water and drain upside down for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use your fingers to open the center of each artichoke. Reach into the middle and pull out the "choke," the small spiky leaves and thistle-like fuzz.
4. Cut cheese into 8 equal pieces. Stuff the center of each artichoke with a piece of cheese. Using one piece of the remaining cheese for each artichoke, pull the artichoke "petals" slightly away from the center and smear cheese under the petals.
5. Place artichokes upright in a baking pan; bake 10 to 12 minutes.
6. While artichokes bake, prepare the sauce. Warm olive oil in a nonstick or enamel-coated sauté pan over low heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes or until translucent, making sure that shallots do not begin to brown. Add wine and vinegar, increase heat to medium and cook until liquid reduces to a slightly syrupy consistency. Stir in cream; cook until liquid is reduced by half.
7. Using a wire whisk, add butter all at once and whisk constantly until 95 percent of the butter has melted. Remove from heat and continue whisking until completely melted.
8. Place a fine sieve over another pan; strain sauce and discard shallots. Stir in a pinch of salt, a pinch of white pepper and mustard. Keep warm until ready to serve.
9. Carefully remove artichokes from oven with tongs and arrange on serving plates. Drizzle sauce over and around each artichoke.
Per serving: 850 calories; 72g fat; 45g saturated fat; 210mg cholesterol; 24g protein; 19g carbohydrate; 2g sugar; 9g fiber; 785mg sodium; 245mg calcium.
Adapted for home kitchens by the Post-Dispatch