Artichokes 101

We adore Artichokes here at LMDC-hampers. We love their deep flavour, a mixture of asparagus and celery. You can eat nearly all the artichoke, the stem, the heart and the base of the leaves. To cook them, treat them like good quality pasta by cooking in boiling water, lots of water, with a healthy dessert spoonful of salt. Add either a glug of white vinegar or a wedge of lemon – this helps the artichoke maintain their colour. Prepare the chokes by removing the outermost tougher leaves, and cut the stem to the base, then cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Your kitchen knife should be able to get inside the heart.You can pair the warm artichokes with a variety of sauces, sometimes a simple melted butter, or either a vinaigrette or sauce blanche.

Finally, we’ve reproduced Ollie’s Bearnaise sauce which pairs beautifully with artichokes. If this is too strong, make a Bearnaise leaving out the Tarragon. This version is different from a traditional béarnaise in 3 ways. Firstly it uses a whole egg as well as yolks, so you have all the bonding power of the protein in the egg whites without the richness of the extra yolks. Secondly, the rapeseed oil gives a cleaner flavour than the butter, not to mention a glorious yellow colour. Finally, by heating the oils as detailed below, you further cook the egg to create a sauce that is very stable. It will actually keep overnight if made correctly. The recipe here for the reduction is much more than what you need, but it keeps well in the fridge indefinitely and is always useful to have.

 

Reduction

300g White wine vinegar

1      Banana shallot, finely sliced 

75g   Chardonnay vinegar

1 pkt Tarragon

Pinch Salt

 -           Strip the leaves from the tarragon to save to add chopped at the end, reserving the stems.

 -          Reduce the white wine vinegar and shallot to 250g, then add the remaining ingredients including the stems. Leave to cool to room temp then store in the fridge until needed.

 

Finished sauce

1      Eggs

1      Egg yolks

30g   Reduction

1 tbsp   Water

Pinch Salt

100g Vegetable oil

50g   Virgin rapeseed oil


 -       Heat the oils in a pan to 90-100C then remove from the heat.

-       Place the egg and yolk in a bowl with the reduction, water and salt and whisk over a bain marie with a large whisk. It will aerate, then as it cooks it will thicken and lose some volume. The temperature should reach approx. 60C.

-       Once it is thickened, remove from the heat and very slowly whisk in the hot oil to thicken and emulsify. Make sure it is in a jug or pan that pours nicely. You may wish to use an electric whisk, unless you want to burn off in advance all the calories you are about to consume!

-       Add chopped tarragon, check seasoning and acidity 


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