Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is in season here. I quite like the green heads of them filling out vegetable boxes in our local growers market. Proudly to say that New Zealand grows our own artichoke, so you know. I also am planning to grow one or two in my own garden next year. I think it will be handy to have them fresh and available in Spring.
I have this old recipe (it was written by Alessandra Zecchini on a culinary magazine as far as I remember), to participate on Hay Hay It's Donna Hay, created by Barbara of Winos and Foodies, once facilitated by Bron of Bron Marshall, and now it is organized by Chez Us and this month is hosted by J of Have Fork Will Travel.
This dish is really good to be served as a starter with a group of people you know well. Sharing laughters over a plateful of artichokes by plucking each leaf is a sensuous affair. Garlic and parsley give great flavour on the basic taste of artichoke, with a generous amount and season, allow yourself licking the mixed flavour lingered on your fingers. A sip of wine perhaps a good idea. I don't drink, so I leave it up to you to choose a good wine to company your relaxing dinner.
In the recipe, Zecchini uses fresh garlic, I use roast garlic instead. I bought smoked garlic from the farmers' market the other day and I roasted it. The flavour is awesome! You can smell the lovely earthy with smoky flavour which you can almost taste it on the tip of your tongue. Mixing it with freshly chopped parsley and olive oil, it is a great journey with this sensational garlicky and herby artichokes.
So, here's what I do with the artichokes.
Carciofi Aglio E Prezzemolo for Two
adapted from Alessandra Zecchini's recipe.
2 small artichoke heads
a handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped well
a good drizzle of olive oil
3 cloves roast garlic, peeled and minced
1 fresh clove garlic, finely chopped with extra freshly chopped Italian parsley and mixed with a tablespoon olive oil, salt and black pepper
Use mezzaluna if you wish to chop herbs and garlic well.
Prepare a bowl of lemon juice and slice from 1-2 lemon(s), pour in cold water. Set aside. Prepare the artichokes. Cut the stems. Use a serrated knife, cut the tip of artichoke heads, just to reveal the heart. Make the parsley paste by mixing the freshly chopped Italian parsley, and minced roast garlic. Stuff this mixture generously in between the leaves and heart. Put these artichokes in a saucepan to fit enough, drizzle with olive oil, and pour in vegetable stock just to cover half-way. Simmer and cook until the artichokes are cooked. You can pluck the leaves easily when they are cooked.
Remove from the saucepan on the serving plate. Spoon the extra mixture of parsley, garlic and olive oil to serve. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season. Serve immediately. Enjoy.