I am in Italy. It is the artichoke season and the Mercato Centrale in Florence offers a bewildering number of varieties. Should we choose the carciofi Romani from Sicily, tightly budded globes the size of an orange, only edible after long slow cooking? Or the thorny purple petaled Morellino artichokes from the Tuscan wildlands of Maremma, teardrop shaped and tender enough to eat raw?
We bought Morellini, removed their tough outer leaves, cut off their spiny tops and boiled them for about 20 minutes in salted water with half a lemon. You can also add the stalks, but peel off the tough fibrous skins first, once softened they are equally delicious. Cover all the cut parts with lemon juice while you work to stop them going black.
Here is the recipe for a sauce:
1 hard boiled egg
1 tin of anchovy fillets
a large bunch of parsley, chives, fennel and tarragon
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
125ml natural Greek yoghurt
grated zest of half a lemon
juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
Purée all of the above until you have a sauce with the consistency of thin mayonnaise. Adjust the olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve as a dipping sauce for hot artichokes petals, hearts and stalks.
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