I want to do wildly extravagant things with artichokes. They are so cheap and plentiful that this is my time, if ever, to try all of those artichoke recipes I’ve always dismissed as being for people who live in California. One little hurdle in my mind can be getting past the separation of leaves and stem. First, it is physically challenging to peel and de-choke an artichoke. It’s not impossible, but I wish I had a better technique. Second, if I don’t use the whole artichoke, I feel like I’m wasting the meat on those leaves. I am currently steaming them off separately and Allan and I will either just sit and have a big artichoke leaf fest or I will try scraping the meat off of each individual leaf to add a layer of artichoke paste to a lasagna. That’s my current plan.
Concurrently, I have been saving nutrient rich greens from the cutting room floor all week. The vegetable sellers here are very quick to cut the greens from the bulbs of carrots and fennel, and on to beets and turnips, which we know are delicious. I bought a bunch of beets a few days ago and had my back turned when the owner chopped off the greens and tossed them in a bundle on the shop floor. When I asked for the greens, he put the decapitated heads of two other customers’ bunches in my bag, too, so now I have plenty of beet greens. Plenty.
I bought a beautiful cookbook last summer, Turquoise, by Greg and Lucy Malouf that I am long overdue to start learning from. The subtitle is A chef’s travels in Turkey. Greg is an experienced Australian chef, Lucy is an evocative writer and they also had a fantastic photographer along because every page makes you want to crawl right inside. They try everything they can, but then Greg puts a little Australian spin on the dish so it’s just a tiny bit fusionized for Western cooks. This is my first recipe to actually cook from the book and it’s perfect for what’s available to me at the moment. Rather than chicory and chard, I used beet and turnip greens.
Adapted from Turquoise, by Greg and Lucy Malouf
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 fresh artichoke hearts, cut into quarter and kept in acidulated water
- 12 small shallots, peeled and halved
- 1 leek, white part only, cut lengthwise into thin strips and washed
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds, lightly crushed
- ¼ teaspoon hot paprika
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Ground sumac
- 1 1/3 pounds chicory, roots trimmed
- 5 ounces Swiss chard, shredded lengthwise
- 5 ounces chicken stock
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and add the drained artichokes, shallots and leek. Saute over a low heat for a few minutes, then add the poppy seeds, paprika, pepper and 1 teaspoon sumac and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the chicory, Swiss chard and stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes until the artichokes and onions are tender.
I prepared this using two separate pans to keep the beets from turning everything pink. If you use chicory, kale, or endive, you can just use one pan. I had never sauteed raw artichokes before and I love this method. I will do this more often this winter.