FOOD: Artichokes à la barigoule.

The Saturday Paper - - The Week Contents - David Moyle

The win­dow in which to pick artichokes is very short. They go from be­ing young, ten­der and a joy to pre­pare to a stringy and tough time-waster, which makes ab­so­lute sense con­sid­er­ing they are a this­tle. This, com­bined with their short shelf life, means most peo­ple buy them ready pre­pared or pick­led.

I have al­ways loved the Ital­ian way of eat­ing artichokes at their peak: sim­ply the whole flower with good-qual­ity olive oil and salt in which to dip each petal. You then use your teeth to strip the yel­low part from each leaf, which is ex­tremely ten­der and de­li­cious. As much as I would love to serve them like this in restau­rants, there is a ba­sic level of prepa­ra­tion re­quired to en­sure artichokes go from be­ing in­fu­ri­at­ing to in­ter­ac­tive and charm­ing.

This recipe is based on a French prepa­ra­tion – à la Barigoule – which is es­sen­tially a pre­serve cooked in wine, vine­gar and oil with the ad­di­tion of ba­con or mush­rooms. It’s a very sub­tle pre­serve – not quite a pickle – and it can be served as al­most a dish on its own. I think of it as a dressed salad in a jar, al­though that patent is still pend­ing. I also like to chop it and roll it through pasta with but­ter and herbs. Af­ter this shoot, my part­ner used the left­over artichokes on the sting­ing net­tle rice from an ear­lier recipe and it was re­ally great. I do claim most of the tri­umph my­self, though.

To clean artichokes, first strip back the outer leaves un­til the ten­der yel­low part ex­tends up to two thirds of the body, then cut the top third off. Cut the base of the stem off to about 10 cen­time­tres and peel with a veg­etable peeler, then cut the head in half length­wise. Use a sharp spoon or rounded-edge knife to re­move the “choke” or the furry part at the cen­tre of

• the head.

Photography: Earl Carter

DAVID MOYLE is a chef. He is a food edi­tor of The Satur­day Paper.

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