Total time: 1 hour, plus 1 hour cooling time for the artichokes
Note: Adapted from Alain Passard's "The Art of Cooking with Vegetables"
4 medium artichokes with tightly packed leaves
12 large fresh (not dried) bay leaves
6 to 8 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Fleur de sel or salt of your choice
1. Trim back the stocks of the artichokes, snip the outer edges of the leaves and trim the top. Cut the bay leaves in half lengthwise. Tuck the bay leaves into the artichoke leaves, distributing them evenly and hiding them well. Wrap each artichoke in several rounds of plastic wrap.
2. Fill a stockpot or deep saucepan half-full with unsalted water and bring it to a boil. Have ready a saucepan lid that is slightly smaller than the stockpot and also a weight, such as a small, heavy saucepan.
3. Lower the artichokes into the boiling water. Submerge them with the saucepan lid held in place by the weight. Simmer the artichokes until tender enough that a small sharp knife easily pierces the base, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove the artichokes from the water with a slotted spoon and leave them to cool in their plastic wrap for 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, make a vinaigrette by mixing together the olive oil and the lime juice. Put this in a sauceboat and set aside.
6. To serve, unwrap the artichokes and arrange them on 4 small plates, adding a small mound of good sea salt beside each. Pass the vinaigrette for people to use as they wish.
Each of 4 servings: 275 calories; 4 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams fiber; 24 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 73 mg sodium.