Friday, 6 June 2008
Globe artichokes beat jerusalem artichokes hands down. They may not be fashionable, but they're the best. Just as Jerusalem artichokes signal that you're in the dead of winter and there isn't much in the way of vegetables that aren't roots, globe artichokes hail that eating outside with your fingers on long sunny afternoons has arrived.
I'm boring with artichokes. I boil them and then serve them whole for everyone to peel off the petals to eat dipped in butter. This is no work at all for the cook, but a little taxing for the diner. Good conversation, good wine, or both are required. They are plenty of other lovely things to do with them, but I think simplicity is all. If you don't then there is a lovely recipe in one of the Moro cookbooks for artichoke hearts braised with peas, mint and sherry which is fabulous, subtle and interesting.
Friday afternoon and lots of reading to do seemed the perfect excuse for a solitary artichoke lunch with a glass of white bordeaux and a cardigan to keep away the chill outside.
To cook artichokes peak off any mangled outer petal, or any that look particularly tough and cut the stalk at the base. Boil a large pan of salted water, and add the artichokes. The time they take to cook varies enormously with size, anything form 20-45 minutes I find. They are done when you can easily peel off an outside petal, but the flesh on the inside of it still holds bite. I like a little pat of butter on the side of my plate, to smear the petals over, but a vinaigrette made with lemon is also good.