It was approximately 3 degrees Celsius this morning as Laura and I headed out to the outdoor market in my neighborhood. She was in search of a warm pair of gloves and I was shopping for lunch. I recognized one vender as a reputable man who sold me quite a few porcini mushrooms last Fall. Today he donned a warm hat and fingerless gloves as he trimmed the freshest baby artichokes I have seen in a long time. Both Laura and I immediately thought of artichoke salad as a starter for lunch. I had never eaten this salad until I moved to Italy, the artichokes in the U.S. are huge, with meaty leaves that are great in lemon butter but could never be eaten raw like these beauties.
(Serves 2 as a starter)
4-6 trimmed baby artichokes
2 small handfuls of baby greens like mache aka corn salad aka lamb's ear lettuce
generous shavings of parmigiano cheese, use a vegetable parer
good olive oil
salt and pepper
1. If the artichokes are not trimmed then the outer leaves must be removed until only the tender purple leaves remain. The stems are then cut very short and trimmed. The open/flower end is cut flush where the leaves begin to turn yellow instead of purple, about 1-2 inches from the stem. When each artichoke is cut in half, they begin to brown instantaneously, so must be rubbed with a cut lemon. Remove the minute choke with a small paring knife or my trick a tiny cappucino spoon. Slice the artichoke halves fairly thinly and sprinkle with a few more drops of lemon juice and set aside.
2. Wash greens, dry and place in a large salad bowl. Add the artichokes, dressing, salt and pepper then toss. Layer the salad with the parmigiano shavings, repeat until you have about three layers. Serve as is or with crostini.
Look at the fresh artichokes, trimmed and ready for a salad.
The finished product.
All rights reserved.