Adelicious but underrated vegetable takes centre stage this week: the artichoke. This springtime beauty is really popular in Italy, but for some reason we seem to treat it with a caution I don’t think it deserves, often only eating it when we see it on restaurant menus and someone else has done the prep and cooking for us.
True, it has a bit of a prickly exterior, but once you’ve mastered the preparation, you’ll see that the artichoke can be taken in so many different directions. It can be simply dressed and served as a side or eaten as part of a main meal such as a pasta, risotto, salad or traybake, even sprinkled on a pizza. My good mate and long-term member of my team, Peter Begg, is a big lover of this beautiful veg so we’ve teamed up to give you a few recipes that’ll show you just how incredible it really is. There are loads of different kinds of artichoke but for these recipes we’re using violet artichokes, which are much easier to prepare.
Kicking off, this super- simple Rocket & Shaved Artichoke Salad is the perfect light dish for spring. Pete’s shown you how to make a fiery chilli salt that tastes incredible with the peppery rocket and buttery artichoke. There’s nothing quite like making fresh pasta, so have a bash at this tagliatelle recipe. Teamed with creamy, garlicky artichokes and topped with salty prosciutto and fresh parsley, it’s an Italian favourite. And last up, give Pete’s Dressed Artichokes with Crushed Almonds a go for a deliciously zesty, springtime side dish. It requires a bit of extra effort, but believe me, this is really worth it.
If you can’t handle the fiery chilli salt sprinkled on the Rocket & Shaved Artichoke Salad, then try mixing the salt with a teaspoon of fennel seeds instead – this’ll give you a lovely fragrant finish.
For a tasty snack, try boiling your artichokes whole and eating the tender base of the leaves. Click them off and enjoy them with dips such as hummus or pesto – delicious!