Having planted artichokes in my garden some years ago, I find they are the most productive and easiest of vegetables to grow. Once a stalwart of English gardens, these specimens of the thistle family are often now eschewed for things that are simpler to prepare.
I suggest boiling them whole so your guests can peel off the leaves and dip them in vinaigrette.
It makes the cook’s job easier, and guests will enjoy working their way into the prized heart.
- 4 large artichokes
- Small bunch of thyme
- Bay leaf
For the vinaigrette
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1tbsp red wine vinegar
- 8tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.
- Put the artichokes in a saucepan large enough to fit them with room for plenty of water. Cover generously with well-salted water, add the thyme and bay leaf and bring to the boil. (You may need to place a plate on top to stop them bobbing to the surface.)
- Boil for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted through the top of the stalk into the heart meets no resistance. Drain and set aside.
- To make the vinaigrette, put the garlic and mustard in a bowl, whisk in the vinegar and add the oil, drop by drop, whisking to create an emulsion. Once it thickens, you can continue to add the oil in a steady stream.
- Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Serve the artichokes with individual bowls of the vinaigrette for dipping. When you reach the choke, you need to cut out the hairy centre before eating the heart.