Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and Parmesan

A Salad, sides post written by on June 17, 2014

Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and Parmesan

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dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships

– ansel adams

 

Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and ParmesanIncidental Metaphors. They are abundant when all you seek is the heart of an artichoke, or so I noticed,  when my artichoke lover came to retrieve a few of his belongings from our previously shared space. I, in my magnificent callousness, offered him some artichokes, neglecting to mention that I had removed all of the hearts from the whole herd. I pureed the best part in a soup with fartichokes, but I couldn’t eat the lot because I purchased way too much for one very nauseated belly. How terrible can I get?

He politely declined, but then politely asked for one, but “to go,” in that sweet, “I still like artichokes but I’d rather not eat them while choking” tone. I dutifully stuffed their broken, sharp petals into a travelling bag and offered, with shame, a sack of heartless artichokes. Miraculously, the man was kind enough to laugh at my parsimonious poetics when I admitted to removing all of the hearts from his measly gift of fucking artichokes. So then I offered him a lemon, just in case his life had not done so… he wasn’t sure if he had any actual lemons, so of course, I made sure he had enough for princess lemonade, which is to say, I’m a horrible poet, because I thought that taste dictates a serving of heartless artichokes with a fresh squeeze of someone else’s acid. My hell is a bottomless pitcher of rotten lemonade.

And the soup? Nourishing, but bloated between spoons full of guilt. He didn’t want any of that, of course, so we nervously laughed among tears while I acted anxious and shifty. That was a few months ago…

Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and Parmesan

Historically, I am not an artichoke lover. I find their hearts to be too much work. I like to reckon the prickly leaves with my teeth, but the chokes, the fuzzy growth at the centre, makes them particularly vexing, despite my admiration for their biological defense.

The artichoke plant itself is an evolved rose of thorns. It takes a brave set of hands to tackle the brambles, chop off the head, remove the tips, treat it with heat, and then, neatly remove each petal just to choke. It doesn’t get much more masochistic than that, considering the difficulty in executing just the right amount of time under that heat and pressure so that it is perfectly al dente. Too much heat and the artichoke heart gets mushy. Too little and the little brats remain hard. Of course, you can’t really tell until you’re already knee deep in thistles. It’s all in a day’s work eating flowers – I, personally, would have been content with canned artichokes. I am quite lazy after all.

As it turns out, baby artichokes are easy to cut up and there are no chokes or choking involved.  I was thinking of them a bit after my artichoke lover and I sat down to a Friday rosé last week, just… for casual talks with chilled roseate wine. We had a crunchy green salad of cucumber and waxy yellow beans speckled with preserved lemon confetti and I thought of young artichokes in the raw. Afterwards, we walked around the block to the car, he climbed on a tree and gathered some red fruits which I stuffed into my pockets. We ate those stony fruits as we walked and I gathered bits of sidewalk lavender, scattering stony seeds along our path across the highway that cuts through the city. I’m leaving the lavender and stone fruits out of this salad, but perhaps the seeds will grow into fruiting trees and the lavender – I’m keeping on my table until the time comes for more lemonade.

Today, I made this salad in the optimism of morning. It was a good morning and the sun was slow moving –  a decadent kind of Monday that reminds you of the summer and its deliberately slow hours. In my slow June tempo, I was extra careful and the flowers only stabbed me once. I even managed to use a mandolin without incident.

This is the salad to try if you happen upon small baby artichokes. I’ve tried it with adult artichokes and they defy the mandolin and the chokes – they’re not to be messed with for raw artichoke salads!  You don’t have to use preserved lemons for this, but I love their salty, complex flavors peeking through the crunchy artichokes and salty slivers of cheese. It’s one of the more crunchy salads and you will likely want green almonds because it is delicate and jelly-like, but it’s not an absolute, just like my fear of thorny chokes.

 

Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and Parmesan

Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and Parmesan

Raw artichoke salad for one:

3 very small baby artichoke

scant 1/4 c thinly sliced parmesan cheese

scant 1/4 c watercress or arugula

1/2″ square of preserved lemon, chopped finely

1 meyer lemon

9 green almonds

12 mint leaves

3 ts grapeseed oil

salt

white pepper

+ Juice your lemon, reserving  1 ts. – place the remainder of the juice, a few pinches of salt, and 1/2 c. water into a bowl. Then, prepare your artichokes by removing hard outer leaves and cutting off the top with a sharp knife. Place each one into the acidulated water as you prep the next one to prevent browning. Then, very carefully, shave the artichokes with a mandolin and put the slices immediately into the water. Likewise, you can also julienne them.

+ You should let them sit for about 15-30 minutes as that softens them a bit while adding lemon flavor.

+ Green almonds are harder this time of year so you should shell them, but if they are young, you can eat them whole, sliced.

+ Prepare your dressing with the reserved lemon juice, grapeseed oil, preserved lemons, and salt to taste. Then, toss the artichokes with half of the dressing and set aside. Next, toss the dressing with watercress, cheese, and mint. Plate your salad with the cress, top with artichokes, add the almonds on top with some fresh ground white pepper.

5

 

Elsewhere:

I’m over at Paper Plates talking about my favorite subject: BOOKS!!!

I’m over at Learn Food Photography talking about my other favorite subject{s}: food {photos}. 

I’m over at Instagram sharing random eats and colorful veggies when I don’t have time to post here… 

 

Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and Parmesan





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28 Responses to “Raw Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemons, Green Almonds, and Parmesan”

  1. Beth says:

    This post kicks ass, phi. The styling and white balance are siiiiick. 😀

  2. This looks gorgeous and love the addition of the almonds -I love the crunch they give to salads and work so well with lemony dressings!

    http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

  3. Only a person with your sensibility could put those kinds of feeling into such a poetic metaphor. The season for heartless artichokes is rapidly waning to an end here in Italy, and I hope it is doing the same inside you, too.

    That said, I have no access whatsoever to half of the ingredients on the list, but I am making a point of saving this on my to-do’s and pull it out when better chances present themselves. Needless to say, the photos are so so so beautiful.
    Sending *smooches* your way!

    • phi says:

      of course I have some artichokes left and I hesitate to pickle them bc that seems like a lot of work and this Blogger Valentina has already done so – I just need to get her to send it to me, or, better yet! bring it to me. 🙂

  4. Jess says:

    This pics are just so stunning! Love your work big time!!

  5. Anne says:

    You are always so poetic. Even your pictures speak in a beautiful language!

  6. Oh my – I think these might be your best photos yet! Simply stunning! I’ve always been intimidated by the process of cooking artichokes (or at least that is what I thought) – perhaps its all the scary metaphors for the process that scared me…

    • phi says:

      I didn’t eat them very much before California. we’re a bit lucky with the weather but they are too pricey to mess up – so I totally understand! Just go to a restaurant and ask for fresh artichokes. lols.

  7. Irene says:

    Ahhh gorgeous post- the words, the recipe, the styling! I’ve only tried artichokes once and wasn’t a fan, but they’re so beautiful (like many other foods like figs mmmm) I feel as though I’m missing out! Definitely will try to get my hands on baby artichokes and give them a try again and like you become converted 🙂 What’s your absolute favourite way to cook them other than eating them raw?

    • phi says:

      Hey there! thank you so much for your kind words …. I usually slice them in half, boil them in a nice veggie broth, and then roast them in the oven with a bit of olive oil, S&P – cut side up. I think grilling would be nice too, but you should boil it first to give the flowers extra moisture, and it flavors your broth for soup!

      On average I find that 15 minutes of boiling & 15 minutes of roasting (~375F) does the trick for most large artichokes, but it’s hard to get it just right. We used to eat these petals dipped in lemon butter.

      best/
      phi

  8. Irene says:

    Ahhh gorgeous post- the words, the recipe, the styling! I’ve only tried artichokes once and wasn’t a fan, but they’re so beautiful (like many other foods like figs mmmm) I feel as though I’m missing out! Definitely will try to get my hands on baby artichokes and give them a try again and like you become converted 🙂 What’s your absolute favourite way to cook them other than eating them raw?

  9. Pang says:

    truly LOVE LOVE LOVE your photos 🙂

  10. rika@vm says:

    The artichokes look absolutely gorgeous and divine!

  11. very beautiful and simplistic recipe, way to highlight the beauty of the artichoke

  12. Lindsay says:

    Wow, incredible dish — using all my favorite ingredients!

  13. Delicious… perfect for summer lunch on the beach!

  14. The dish looks like an art and mouthwatering. I would love to taste those fresh veggies and the white plate works wonders. Cant wait to try the recipe myself. Thanks

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