For all of our love of using tinned artichokes in recipes, neither of us had ever cooked a fresh globe artichoke. So when we were out on a shopping trip and saw some beautiful looking specimens for only £1 each, we thought it was about time we had a go!
The artichokes are simply simmered in water with lemon, fennel seed and bay, but we had a bit of fun with the dipping sauces…
Every time someone on tv or in a written recipe describes brown butter, they talk about the nutty flavour and fragrance, so we thought why not make a vegan version, using, well, nuts! So we browned ground almonds in oil and then used them to make a vegan mayo, it worked really well and makes an incredibly tasty and very moreish dip! As a contrast, we also made a fresh tomato oil, which is so simple to make, but very tasty.
For anyone who hasn’t eaten a globe artichoke before, the idea is to remove the leaves one at a time, and then using your teeth, scrape the tender lower part of the leaf from the more fibrous tip. It sounds odd, but is a very satisfying way to eat, dipping the leaves in the sauces as you go! When you get to the middle of the artichoke there is a little fibrous bit, this is the choke and should be scooped out with a teaspoon and discarded. You can then eat the lower section of the globe, near the stem. And the stem too if it’s tender enough!
to cook the artichokes
2 globe artichokes, washed well. Also remove any loose lower leaves, peel the stem and trim the end off. 2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
3 slices of lemon
2 litres boiling water (approximately)
for the vegan brown ‘butter’ sauce
25 g ground almonds
6 tbsp of a neutral flavoured oil, we used vegetable oil 3 tbsp soya flour
6 tbsp soya milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
a pinch of salt
for the tomato oil
3 tbsp olive oil
6 cherry tomatoes
a pinch of salt
First get the artichokes cooking. Put the artichokes, lemon, bay leaves and fennel seeds in a large saucepan and add the water. We used a stock pot, and 2 litres of water almost covered the artichokes. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer with a lid on for at least 30 minutes. Our artichokes took 50 minutes to cook, when they’re done the outer leaves will pull away with almost no resistance, and the stem will be soft.
While the artichokes are cooking, make the dipping sauces. For the vegan brown ‘butter’ mayo, put the oil and almonds in a small saucepan and heat until the almonds start to change colour and the fragrance is released. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. The almonds will continue to cook and therefore brown more before the oil cools. They should end up golden brown.
When the almond mixture has cooled a little, whizz it up with the rest of the ingredients using a small processor or immersion blender attachment. It should be lovely and thick, but dippable. Add a little more soy milk if it needs it.
To make the tomato oil, prick the cherry tomatoes with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife and heat with the olive oil on a low heat. After a few minutes the tomatoes should have collapsed and released their juice into the oil. Stir to break them up, and season with salt.
Serve the artichokes on plates large enough to take all the finished leaves as you’re eating, with the dips in little bowls.
By A. and E.