The idea of a raw artichoke may not appeal to most people, who think of only cooked globe artichokes or perhaps marinated artichoke hearts, but when the vegetables are fresh and in season in the early spring, they are
magnificent sliced very thin and dressed with olive oil and good balsamic. You are slicing only the choke—the leaves go into a soup or the compost. This is a classic Mediterranean salad; to thoroughly enjoy it, make sure the
choke is well trimmed with all leaves and fuzzy bits removed. Buy heavy specimens with tightly closed leaves and moist stems.
- ½cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 whole artichokes
- 3 cipolline onions, peeled but left whole
- 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 7 fresh basil leaves
- 10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Fill a large bowl with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make acidulated water.
2 Peel the artichokes by holding each one upside down, pulling the leaves toward you, and snapping the leaves at their natural breaking point, which is about two-thirds down toward the stem. When the light green interior leaves are exposed, use a paring knife to trim along the top of the artichoke. Work around the circumference of the heart and remove the remaining leaves. The choke will remain; if the outer edges of the heart are rough, trim them. Peel the stem and cut the artichoke in half from stem to heart. Remove the choke (heart) and make sure all leaves and fuzzy bits are removed.
3 Submerge the chokes in the water. They will keep without turning brown for up to 3 hours.
4 In a pot filled with lightly salted boiling water, cook the onions for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. When they are cool, cut them in half and let the layers separate naturally. Sprinkle the onions with the vinegar and let them marinate for about 5 minutes.
5 Using a mandoline, shave the chokes. Alternatively, use a sharp knife to slice them very thin.
6 Put the chokes in a mixing bowl and add the onions and basil.
7 Dress the salad with ½cup of lemon juice and the olive oil. Toss and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Excerpted from Osteria by Rick Tramonto and Mary Goodbody.Copyright 2008 by Rick Tramonto. Excerpted by permission of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.