28 February 2008

An Artichoke for You and Me

It's till full on artichoke season and I haven't exhausted the many ways with fresh artichokes. As a kid I always loved them although my experience to them was only the marinated variety and much later as the frozen or canned plain ones. I loved them then and still do now that I have finally been able to really feast on them with out breaking the budget. The price has finally gone down this year to 10 for 4 euro and that's a bargain, this year. Prices have crept and jumped this year on all manner of foodstuffs. I am oh so happy that these have finally come down in price to enjoy them in their myriad ways of delightful dishes. Some of my favorites include inclusion with fresh pasta, risotto, fried, stuffed and baked, which is a far cry from my former experience only of boiled with fresh aioli or romanesco dipping sauce or the ever so tasty but oh so greasy hot artichoke dip that you find on many American starter or happy hour menus. It was quite the revelation when my next door neighbor mother- in-law pointed out that her favorite way was to eat then raw as a salad. Huh? Clean'em, slice'em thin and dress them up in a simple olive oil and lemon juice with salt and pepper and go. Goes very nicely with that crusty white bread I just made followed by a plate of pasta or hearty soup. Your artichoke must be very fresh and I would add that the flavour although sweet, it can be a bit on the astringent side, which for the uninitiated can be a bit surprising. A heavier flavored follow up course is recommended as this salad can sometimes affect the taste of your next course if your not careful. I served mine today with fresh piadine with melted Toma cheese.
Fresh Artichoke Salad
  • One raw fresh artichoke per person, any variety is fine
Cut 1/3 of the spiky top off
Remove the stem, trim the tough bottom off similar to the way you would judge asparagus and peel
Remove tough outer leaves of the bulb, be ruthless. You can save them and boil them for dipping in aioli later if you like
Cut in half lengthwise
You could leave them here for awhile if you want, but make sure to put in acidified water to keep from turning dark
Just before serving
Slice very thin in half moon style making you way up from the stem to the top.
If you find the leaves tough as you slice your way up, them discard a leaf or two till they are slicing easily.
Casually arrange on individual plates and season.
  • Good quality fruity olive oil
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • sat and pepper
Let the individual mix their own on the plate and adjust seasoning as desired, of course.
Easy Peasy!


Unknown said...

Oh wow - this looks incredible! Yes Piedmont area looks like a very cool place to visit!

And congrats on your Valentines Day celebration! :)

Regarding my trip. I don't even know if I will be getting down to Montreux. Interlaken is as close to Italy as we will be getting...

Anonymous said...

I adore artichokes and this looks wonderful.

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Artichokes are on the top of my favorites list! I just found your blog and don't know why I hadn't before. I'm an Italian-American in the USA and hope you visit my blog someday. It's not as exciting as Italy, but it's a beautiful little spot in the U.S. The photos of Italy that you share are BEAUTIFUL! You are indeed blessed! Ciao, bella (Roz)

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