I am such a simple soul. There are things that make me happy over and over again. Like finding a new good recipe. This is not an easy feat as it seem that more and ore often recipes are not especially good, nor have been tested by someone who can actually cook. It seems that as long as a food assemblage makes a good photo, than it can be published.
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 and not only because they are so famous. This salad is so perfect that does not need any interpretation, it cannot be adapted or improved, and everyone loves it. I have treasured it ever since.
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 so I don’t need so much.
- 4 organic lemons
- 100 g (3 oz) salt to cook the 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. (3 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 into 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