This post I owe thanks to one of my best friends, Ally. We recently had dinner together in a french restaurant and she was eager for me to try an artichoke cooked in this manner, which I never had before. Well, if you are like me and are new to this, I strongly encourage you to try this. It really is delicious and quite a fun little starter when you learn how to tackle it, which she kindly gave me instructions on how to. I promised her it would be my mission to conquer this dish and here it is, this one is for you Ally.
If you are preparing this as a starter, I would recommend one Artichoke per person. This recipe will serve two, but is easily increased to your party size.
Artichoke – 2 Large
Lemon – 1 whole
Salt – 1 tablesoon
Extra-Virgin Olive oil – 125 ml
Red Wine Vinegar – 1 tablespoon
Shallot (finely child) – 1 small
Dijon mustard – 1 teaspoon
Whole grain mustard – 1 teaspoon
Tarragon, chopped – 2 tablespoons
Parsley – 1 tablespoon
Salt – a pinch
Pepper – a pinch
Firstly, you want to trim the stalks a little from your artichoke and snap off a few of the lower, outer leaves to tidy it up a little. The younger leaves further up and within the artichoke are the more enjoyable ones, but don’t strip off to much. You will want to soak your artichokes in a bowl of salty cold water with some squeezed lemons. This will just help to extract any dirt or little creepy crawlies that might be lurking within. Soak them for around 30 minutes.
Now, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add a few pinches of salt and place your artichokes into here, laying a smaller saucepan lid on top of them to try and keep them beneath the water, if you have one. These will need to cook for around 45 minutes. To test if they are cooked, carefully try and pull one of the outer leaves from the body, if it comes away with ease, it is ready.
Whilst these are cooking, you can make your dip. If you have a food processor it will be great to use here, a whisk will be just as good, just make sure your shallots and herbs are finely chopped. You can just put your shallots and vinegar into the bowl and leave for a few minutes to absorb. Then add your two mustards and blitz a little. Once it is combines, slowly start adding your olive oil, mixing in between to form a good emulsion. Once you have added all the oil, add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste and blitz just for a second or two. Feel free to add a little more mustard or a little more vinegar, remembering it will become thinner if you do this, however.
Once the artichokes are cooked, drain and transfer to a plate with a small bowl of your dip.
How to eat?
Pull a leaf from the body keeping hold of the outer tip. Dip the bottom part go the leaf that was attached to the body into the dip. Now pull the lower, inside flesh from the leaf with your teeth, scraping along the leaf. You don’t bite into the leaf, just scrape along with you teach to pull it away. Then discard of that leaf and continue eating like this. Once you get the the centre, take a small spoon and scoop out the ‘Choke’, you cannot eat this part. Now you will just be left with the heart, which is the part we are more commonly used to seeing. This can be eaten whole with the dip as well.