DRESSED AR­TI­CHOKES WITH CRUSHED AL­MONDS

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

Serves 4 as a side 4 vi­o­let ar­ti­chokes, stems trimmed to 3cm (1¼in) but oth­er­wise whole 1 un­waxed lemon 2tbsp white wine vine­gar 4tbsp ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 1tbsp runny honey A few fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked 50g (1¾oz) blanched al­monds

Put the ar­ti­chokes in a pot, cover with cold wa­ter and add 2-3 pinches of salt. Place the lemon in a small pot and cover with cold wa­ter. Sea­son heav­ily with salt — lots more than for the ar­ti­chokes.

Bring both pans of wa­ter to the boil over a medium heat, then sim­mer un­til the ar­ti­chokes are ten­der and you can eas­ily poke a small knife through the lemon — 10-15 min­utes, de­pend­ing on the size of the lemon. Lift the ar­ti­chokes and lemon out of the wa­ter and leave to cool.

Pick the outer leaves off the ar­ti­chokes, stop­ping when you get to the ten­der in­ner ones. Trim the stems right back and chop off the top half of each bulb. Scoop out and dis­card the furry part (the choke), then cut in half length­wise and break into pieces with your fin­gers. Cut the lemon in half and scoop out the soft pulpy in­side. Re­move as much pith as pos­si­ble, too, and dis­card, so you’re only left with the peel. Tear this into thumb­nail-sized pieces and place in a bowl with the ar­ti­choke.

Make a dress­ing with the vine­gar, olive oil, honey and sea­son­ing. Crush a few thyme leaves with a pes­tle and mor­tar and add to the dress­ing. Taste and ad­just the flavours and sea­son­ing. Pour most of the dress­ing over the lemon and ar­ti­choke and turn gen­tly to coat. Taste sea­son­ing, and add a lit­tle more dress­ing if nec­es­sary. Add the rest of the thyme, then drop hand­fuls of the mix­ture onto a serv­ing plate. Toast the al­monds in a pan on medium heat for 5 min­utes, be­ing care­ful not to burn them, then smash with a pes­tle and mor­tar. While hot, sprin­kle over the salad and serve.

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