Monday, October 12, 2009
Artichokes with Asparagus and Broad Beans
When you have a surfeit of produce, like a box of artichokes, you need a variety of ways to deal with them. The previous post featured preserved artichokes, which is an excellent method of using up a large quantity of small ones, but to make the most of them, recipes keeping things fresh and vibrant really herald in the spring season.
What better than to feature a trio of vegetables at their peak right now and only available for a short spectacular time, asparagus, broad beans and artichokes, done in a very Italian manner.
Italians have an effortless way with vegetables and deftly manage to produce dishes entirely from them that unless you really think about it, in no way seem to be vegetarian. With a slice or two of bread, they fully satisfy a hungry stomach, leaving no craving for a bit of flesh.
At this stage of spring, broad beans are by the bucketful and still slightly immature, not needing to be double podded; thick meaty asparagus spears, the size of which would bring a smile to a Trojan warrior, are all about. Full and hearty, tightly wound globes of artichokes are in abundance, ready to be picked apart leaf by leaf.
Artichokes with Asparagus & Broad Beans
100ml olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
4 large or 10 small artichokes
1kg broad beans, podded, double podded if necessary
8 spears of asparagus, cut into segments
50ml white wine vinegar, don't use a harsh one
salt & fresh ground pepper
handful roughly chopped parsley
Peel all the tough outer leaves of the artichoke until you reach the tender centre, cut off the top leaves and trim the bases, if large, cut each one into quarters. Drop them into a bowl of water containing the juice of two or three lemons as you go. When done, gently heat the olive oil in a pot and put in the onion slices and wet artichokes. Give a good stir, turn the heat to low and place on the lid. Leave to cook about 20-25 minutes, occasionally stirring until the artichokes are tender. Then add the broad beans and asparagus sections, white wine vinegar and season to taste. Put the lid back on and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until all the vegetables are tender, stir in the parsley and serve with some crusty sour dough bread.