Fresh globe artichokes should be treated like flowers and stood in a jug of water until ready to use. In the early summer, the markets and street-sellers of the eastern Mediterranean region display crates of artichokes, which they skillfully prepare for you on the spot. Frozen ready-prepared artichoke bottoms are also available in some supermarkets and Middle Eastern stores. However, you can prepare your own: pull off the outer leaves and cut off the stalks; using a sharp knife, slice away the purple choke, the small leaves and any hard bits; remove any fibers with the edge of a spoon; and rub the artichoke bottoms with a mixture of lemon juice and salt to prevent them from discoloring.
Mezze by Ghillie Basan, photography by Jan Baldwin, is published by Ryland Peters & Small.
- 1 1/2 Cup fresh broad/fava beans, shelled
- 4 fresh globe artichokes, trimmed to their bottoms
- 3/4 Cups plus one tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 Teaspoons granulated sugar
- Sea salt
- 1 Cup blanched almonds
- A small bunch of dill, chopped
Place the broad/fava beans in pot of water and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans for about 40 minutes, until tender. Drain and refresh under running cold water. Remove the skins and put the beans aside.
Place the artichoke bottoms in heavy-based saucepan. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and water and pour it over the artichokes. Cover the pan with a lid and poach the artichokes gently for about 20 minutes. Add the sugar, a little salt, beans and almonds and continue to poach gently for a further 10 minutes, until the artichokes are tender. Toss in half the dill and turn off the heat. Leave the artichokes to cool in the saucepan.
Lift the artichoke bottoms out of the saucepan and place them, hollow-side up, on a serving dish. Spoon the beans and almonds into the middle of the artichokes and around them. Garnish with the rest of the dill and serve at room temperature.