SIMPLE GLOBE ARTICHOKES WITH HERB SAUCE

 

Having grown globe artichokes for the first time this year I’m pretty please with the outcome. Cooking them is something I’ve never done so I had to investigate the hows and wherefores before taking that step. What follows is my take on globe artichokes with angelica sauce inspired by a Sarah Raven recipe I stumbled across when doing my research. Sarah uses chives, tarragon, sorrel and parsley but the only one of those herbs I had available today was chives so I had to adapt, however my own version worked really well so once again use this recipe as a guide only, experiment with it because after all you know what you like so if tarragon isn’t to your taste don’t include it.

 

So here is my own experiment with two freshly cut globe artichokes from the garden.

 

Serves 2 people but easily adjusted to serve more.

Ingredients:

2 medium globe artichokes

2 medium hard boiled free range eggs (omit the egg if vegan and substitute with a vegan cheese or an extra-firm tofu-I think this would mimic the texture pretty well)

Several good handfuls of fresh herbs and leaves-I used chives, chervil, purslane plus mizuna leaves and of course rocket

Extra virgin olive oil (or whatever good quality oil you have)

Salt & pepper

 

Method:

I immersed the artichokes in a bowl of salted water for ½ hour before preparation to dislodge any garden insects hiding in the petals. Rinse well. Now because I hate to waste anything I decided against chopping the top 1/3 of the buds off which is often recommended, instead I pulled off any older tougher petals from the bottom of the buds and left them like that. Place the artichokes in a pan of salted boiling water, they will need weighing down as they tend to float so I used a smaller saucepan lid to hold them under and the placed a lid on the pan with a little gap to allow the steam to escape. Depending on their size cooking will take around 30-40 minutes. While they’re cooking you can get on with the dip.

 

I have an old food processor so I put the roughly torn leaves and herbs in that and whizzed them up until finely chopped but not mushy. Then I added the peeled hard boiled eggs (or if using vegan cheese or tofu add at this point) process until mixed up but again not so that it’s a mushy mess. (If you don’t have a food processor then finely chop the herbs and leaves then add the finely chopped eggs or grated vegan cheese/tofu. Now add the oil and mix until amalgamated and the consistency is slack enough to scoop but not runny enough to pour. Taste and season as necessary.

 

Check the artichokes are cooked; an inner petal should just pull out without effort. Drain well and set aside to cool slightly before handling. When cool enough you have a couple of options but I chose to pull off all of the petals and place in a serving dish. You then need to remove the ‘choke’ which is the fuzzy part in the centre. If you left the artichoke until mature it would flower like a thistle, they are the same family, so the ‘choke’ is this unformed blossom and it must be removed as it is inedible. However if the buds are young enough the choke will not really have formed so you might not even see it. Under the choke is the ‘heart’ and many restaurants only ever serve the heart but to me that’s just a waste.

 

Clean out the heart and trim back any stem, serve the petals and the hearts along with the dip, the idea being you scoop up the dip with the petal and scrape the fleshy base of the petal with your teeth, discarding the tougher top parts.

 

The other option would be to serve the artichoke whole and let the eater deal with the choke because the whole thing looks quite good on a plate, however it can make for a messy experience and perhaps best left to artichoke experts.

 

 

It might seem like a lot of work but it is worth it for the interesting taste and it does work well as a starter and a talking point.