- 8 to 16 fresh wild morel mushrooms
- 8 small young artichokes
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 8 very small fresh tomatoes or 16 cherry tomatoes of any color or variety
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter plus 1 tablespoon cold butter to finish the dish
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pastis, or cognac if unavailable
- 1/2 cup vegetable or mushroom broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons assorted herb blooms (garlic, chives, rosemary, thyme, lavender, etc.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
With a soft brush, clean the morels of any pine needles or other debris. Cut each in half lengthwise and set aside.
With a sharp paring knife, trim off the outer leaves of the baby artichokes to expose just the compact tender center leaves. Cut off 1/2 inch at the top of the artichoke and trim the stem to 1/2 inch also, peeling away any rough flesh. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and with the tip of the knife, carefully remove the small furry core (or choke) leaving the young leaves attached to the heart and the small length of tender stem. Rub all the exposed surfaces with lemon.
If the tomatoes are larger than bite-sized, cut them in half and set aside. You may peel them instead, if you wish a finer presentation. (See note below.)
In a heavy sauté pan or Dutch oven with a lid, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat and add the artichokes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly tender. Add the morels and the garlic. Stir to heat well. Remove any excess fat from the pan at this time
Pour in the pastis, or cognac, and allow it to simmer for one minute to cook out the alcohol, or carefully flame it, if you desire. Add the vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and allow the mixture to cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the artichokes are fork tender.
Remove the lid and stir in the cold butter to lightly glaze the mixture. Add the tomatoes, basil, herb blossoms and the salt and pepper to taste. Stir just to heat through and serve, garnished with additional blossoms.
To peel tomatoes, drop them into boiling water for 5 to 15 seconds, (the riper they are, the shorter the time), remove them to ice water and allow to sit for a few seconds. Aided by a little paring knife, their skins should come off easily.
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