There are three ways to get to the heart of a globe artichoke. One is to do all the work yourself; to roll up your sleeves and get on with the task of chopping and trimming the outer leaves until you reach the heart and remove the choke. The second is to make a meal out of reaching the heart, picking away at those leaves and using them to scoop up all sorts of dips, until the heart reveals itself, prize-like, at the end. And the third way is to outsource the job entirely and start with jarred or frozen artichoke hearts. The advantage of this last approach is that you can be liberal with how many you use in a dish, plus it leaves you with plenty of creative energy to play with at the stove. So, today, three very different recipes for however you choose to get to the heart of the matter.
This is one to take to the table in the cooking vessel. Serves four.
500ml vegetable stock1 large dried ancho chilli75ml olive oil½ onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed2 tsp caraway seeds, toasted and lightly crushed2 lemons, 1 finely peeled and juiced, to get 1½ tbsp, the other cut into quarters, to serveSalt and black pepper400g short-grain brown rice6 romano peppers, stems, pith and seeds discarded, flesh cut into 1cm x 8cm strips1 tbsp honey4 sprigs thyme200g jarred artichoke hearts in olive oil, drained and cut in half lengthways3 tbsp flaked almonds, lightly toasted5g parsley, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 210C/410F/gas mark 6½, with a rack near the top.
Warm the stock in a saucepan on a medium heat for three minutes, then turn off the heat, add the ancho and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Once soft, remove and roughly chop the chilli, then return it to the stock.
In a large, high-sided saute pan for which you have a lid, heat two tablespoons of oil on a medium-high flame and, once hot, fry the onion, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, lemon peel and a teaspoon and a quarter of salt for four minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden. Add the rice, stock and 1.1 litres water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and leave to simmer for 70 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Toss the pepper strips in three tablespoons of oil, the honey, thyme, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, then spread out on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the peppers, change the oven setting to grill and turn the heat up to 220C. Lay the artichokes cut side up on top of the peppers and grill for 10-12 minutes, until the artichokes are slightly crisp and browned.
Remove and discard the thyme from the rice pot, then stir in two-thirds of the vegetables. Arrange the final third on top of the rice, cover the pan and return to a medium-high heat for five minutes, to warm through. Drizzle over the lemon juice, scatter with the almonds and parsley, put the lemon wedges around the edges and serve.
Not so much a recipe as an artichoke manual. Dip the leaves in the pink peppercorn aïoli or anchovy butter that follow, or just make a quick vinaigrette instead. Serves six.
2 bay leaves2 lemons, halvedSalt6 large globe artichokes (about 2kg)
Fill an extra-large saucepan with enough water to come halfway up the sides. Add the bay leaf, squeeze in the juice of all four lemon halves, then add the skins and half a teaspoon of salt. Remove the stems from the artichokes then add them and the artichokes to the water. Use a lid smaller than the pan (or a heat-proof plate, if that’s easier) to weigh down the artichokes and keep them submerged, then bring to a simmer and cook for an hour, until a skewer goes easily through the heart and the leaves peel off easily. Drain into in a colander, keeping the artichoke tips facing downwards, and leave for five minutes, then transfer to a platter. I also like to eat the stems, but you may have to remove the sinewy outer layer of skin first.
If you make this, chances are you’ll have a bit left over, but that’s no great hardship: it keeps in the fridge for up to five days and is great on hot or cold roast chicken and vegetables. Serves six-plus.
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed2 large egg yolks½ tsp Dijon mustard1½ tbsp white-wine vinegar1 orange, peel finely grated to get ½ tsp (avoid the bitter white pith), then juiced, to get 1 tbspSalt250ml sunflower oil1½ tbsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed with your fingers, plus extra to sprinkle over just before serving
Put the garlic, egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, and orange zest and juice into a food processor with a half-teaspoon of salt. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a slow, steady stream, until the aïoli is emulsified, thick and creamy. Transfer to a small bowl, then fold in the peppercorns. Sprinkle over a few extra peppercorns, and serve with the artichokes.
This is best served straight away, or at least within a couple of hours, because it sets hard when refrigerated and the anchovy flavour tends to take over. Serves six-plus.
200g unsalted butter at room temperature30g anchovy fillets, drained and roughly chopped1 tsp aleppo chilli flakes1 lemon, zest finely grated to get 1 tsp, and juiced to get 1 tspSalt
Blitz everything in a food processor with a third of a teaspoon of salt until smooth. That’s it.
Serve this at the table in its baking dish. Serves four.
2 lemons, skin peeled in long strips, plus 120ml lemon juice4 large globe artichokes10 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced2 tbsp picked thyme leaves10g sage sprigs90ml olive oilFlaky sea salt and black pepper2 small sustainably sourced sea bass, gutted and scaled (about 500g each)150g frozen peas, defrosted1 small preserved lemon, deseeded, skin and flesh crushed in a mortar (30g)10g mint leaves, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Put the lemon peel and 100ml lemon juice in a medium bowl, ready for when you trim the artichokes.
Cut off and discard all but 3cm of the artichoke stalks and remove the tough outer leaves by hand. Once you reach the softer leaves underneath, use a large sharp knife to cut across the flower, leaving you with just the bottom quarter. Use a small sharp knife or vegetable peeler to remove the outer layers of the artichoke until the base is exposed. Scrape out the hairy choke, cut the artichoke into 0.5cm-thick slices and put in the lemon bowl (this will stop the artichokes discolouring).
Stir in four-fifths of the garlic, the thyme, sage, two tablespoons of olive oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then tip the lot into a 35cm x 25cm ceramic or glass dish. Pour over 200ml water, then push the mix to the sides of the dish, leaving the centre clear for the fish.
Score one side of each bass about four times, 2-3cm apart, then lay the fish scored side up in the middle of the dish, so they’re surrounded by the artichoke mixture. Drizzle over two tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon and a half of sea salt, then roast for 25 minutes, stirring the vegetables two or three times, until the fish is cooked through and the artichokes are soft.
While the fish is cooking, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan or frying pan, then add the last two cloves of sliced garlic and cook on a medium heat for three minutes, until golden. Add the peas, cook, stirring, for a minute, until hot, then add the preserved lemon. Mix in the mint, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper, then spoon the mixture over the artichokes and gently stir in. Drizzle the remaining 20ml lemon juice over the lot and serve hot.
• Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.
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