insalata di carciofi e limoni

tangy, buttery and crunchy, this is just a perfect salad

ARTICHOKES AND SALT-BOILED LEMON SALAD.    I am such a simple soul. There are things that make me happy over and over again. Like finding a new good recipe.

I have lots of “old ” family recipes which I always make, they are safe. Of course I collect new recipes too. Too many of them.

I happen to be one of those who read cookbooks like a novel. In some cases, I read them so many times that eventually I feel  I have made friends with the cooks (or may be their ghost writers).

I get lots of inspiration but most often I will bend the recipe to the mood of the day and to what’s in my refrigerator.

Years ago however, I found this artichoke and lemon salad on The River Cafè Cookbook by  Gray and Rogers, two ladies I wish would have been my neighbors. This salad is  so perfect that does not need any interpretation, it cannot be adapted or improved, it’s mine for life.

Admittedly, I have decreased the amounts of olive oil, but that’s it. This is one of the advantages of living in Umbria:  my olive oil tastes better, I don’t need so much.


  • 4 organic lemons
  • 6 small or 4 large artichokes
  • 150 gr (5 oz)  toasted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soft raw honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a sprinkle fresh thyme or basil leaves (optional)

Wash the lemons thoroughly and put 3 of them whole into a small saucepan. Cover with water and 100 gr. (4 oz) salt. Cover and boil for 20 min until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Juice half of the remaining lemon, reserve.  Add the other half to a pan of water you will use to cook the artichokes. Bring the water to the boil, add 1/2 tablespoon of salt.

Drop the artichokes in the boiling water and cook for 20 min or until one of the central leaves comes away with a little give. Drain and cool. Pull away the outer tough leaves, trim stems, and cut away the choke if there is any. Quarter artichokes and then cut quarters in half again.

Cut the boiled lemons in half,  scoop out and discard the pulp and the inner segments. Cut the soft skins into strips and add to artichokes and almonds in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the honey with the lemon juice, then add the olive oil. Pour over the artichokes, add a little fresh thyme or basil if desired

Serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish

12 thoughts on “insalata di carciofi e limoni

  1. Yummy yummy yummy… I was lucky enough to try this last time I was at Letizia’s and I was talking about this just a few days ago with a friend.
    Thank you for sharing the recipe!


  2. Talking about zucchini, I tried a zucchini carpaccio in Puglia (they obliged me, you know that I hate raw zucchini) and it was GOOD!! :)
    I’ll try your recipe since I’m sure that it will be even BETTER if it comes from you!


  3. Letizia, I LOVE lemon and I’m really intrigued by the idea of making a salad that actually includes the skins as well as the juice of lemons. This, I have to try!


    • Sandra, this trick of boiling lemon in salt is reminiscent of Moroccan salt cured lemons, also called preserved lemons. The salt removes the bitterness from the zest and as a result you can eat them just like another vegetable.


  4. Pingback: Cooking school and writer's retreat in Umbria | Taste For Travel | My Travel Blog for Curious Women|Destinations|Travel Books|Food & Tips

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