Artichoke

Whole Globe Artichoke with Three Dips

Serves 4

This would be a great Vegetarian dish for a dinner party starter to share or even on a buffet table for guests to pull off leaves and dip. Just make sure everyone knows just to eat the fleshy part of the leaves.

Ingredients

Water
1 slice of lemon
4 globe artichokes

For the tomato salsa:

3 medium plum tomatoes, chopped in half
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 small pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the basil-infused oil:

300ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of basil

For the asparagus and ‘parmesan’ cream:

150ml double cream
4 tbsp grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
4 large spears of asparagus
15g butter
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Method

Fill a large bowl with water and put a slice of lemon in it. Cut the tough tips of the artichoke leaves off with scissors, holding the stalk to keep the artichoke steady.

Using a knife, slice the base off so that it will sit upright. Pull the pale central leaves out, then scoop the feathery choke out with a spoon, without disturbing the heart underneath. To prevent browning, drop each artichoke in the bowl of water as it is prepared.

Put a large pan of salted water on a high heat, and add the artichokes when it bolls. Reduce the heat slightly and cook the artichokes for 35-45 minutes (when they’re ready you should be able to pull a leaf out easily).

While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the dips. Mix all the tomato salsa ingredients together and put them in a bowl. Set it aside until you are ready to serve.

To make the basil-infused oil, just blend the oil and basil together for about 4 minutes, and strain it through a fine sieve.

For the asparagus and parmesan cream, mix the cream and cheese together in a pan. Bring it almost to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Trim the ends of the asparagus. then blanch them for 5 minute in boiling salted water, and submerge them in iced water immediately. Put the asparagus into the cream sauce, add the butter and cook gently for 2 minutes, then blend into a smooth cream. Check the seasoning and add a little paprika.

When the artichokes are ready, remove them from the pan and drain them upside down. Allow them to cool slightly.

Serve with the three dips; if you wish, you can remove the leaves and present them separately, or slice each one in half and present as shown at the top of this page.