French cuisine: ARTICHAUTS A LA VINAIGRETTE
This is a super easy yet delicious dish perfect for the beginning of spring.
Artichauts, or artichokes in English, are such beautiful vegetables that always draw attention at the market. The thought of cooking them is, however, a little daunting. Where do you begin? Well, it would be a shame to miss out on these delicious spring vegetables for the sake of a little fear! The simplest way to cook an artichoke is to steam it, so here we present you with an incredibly easy dish that will no doubt impress any guests that you have to dinner, or that you can simply enjoy alone on a pleasant spring evening.
- 2 large globe artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of white wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 small clove of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
Place an artichoke on its side on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife cut off the top quarter of the artichoke. Rub where you have cut with a bit of lemon so that it doesn’t discolour. Cut off the stem at the bottom so that the artichoke can stand upright and again rub the bottom with lemon. Pull off the bottom leaves that are often tough and so not very tasty then, using scissors cut off any thorny ends.
Put a fair amount of water into a large pot and bring to the boil. Once bubbling place the artichokes into the steaming water. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for around 45 minutes until a leaf will easily pull away. Remove the artichokes from the heat.
For the vinaigrette
Whisk together the vinegar, salt, Dijon mustard and garlic and olive oil and blend well. Taste and adjust salt to your preference and add pepper. This vinaigrette can then be used as a dip for the artichokes.
To eat, individually remove the leaves from the outside of the artichoke, dip them into the vinaigrette and use your teeth to scrape the flesh from the bottom of the leaf. This bit is particularly delicious. Make sure to have a bowl on the side for your discarded leaves. When you reach the middle make sure to remove the ‘choke’ with a knife, this is the hay like bit of the artichoke which is not nice to eat and discard it. At the bottom you will be left with the heart, the delicious prize for all of that effort! Enjoy!