Artichokes are one of nature’s gifts to humans if you ask me. They are beautiful and decorative on their own plus they taste incredibly delicious. And let’s not forget how amazingly healthy they are! What else could you expect from a plant? Well ok, they may be a little difficult to prepare but it’s very much worthwile the effort.

Thank God that nowadays we can buy artichoke bottoms in season at the marketplace or in supermarkets all cleaned, prepared and ready to cook. The most commonly known traditional recipe for this miraculous plant in Turkish cuisine is to cook the artichoke bottoms in olive oil with green peas and diced carrots and potatoes. It is a classic “vegetable dish with olive oil” served cold, as an antrée prior to a fine dinner. Although delicious and very appealing to the eye, I personally became a bit bored with the traditional version of this dish throughout the years. But I found out that they can also be served with fresh fava beans, which are in full season these days. And then I thought why not make a change and try cooking these artichokes in tangerine juice, at a time when tangerines are almost out of season! The result turned out to be so delicious that I think I will be making this dish this way for many years to come, or until I get bored and invent a new version.

 

Ingredients

(serves 4)

  •  4 artichoke bottoms
  • 100 gr fresh fava beans
  • 12 pearl onions
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1 large or 2 small tangerines (or juice of 1 orange)
  • Juice of half a medium to large size lemon
  • ½  tsp salt
  • Fresh dill, to decorate

 

Step by step method

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  1. Boil some salted water in a small pot. Wash and drain the fresh fava beans and add to the boiling water. Cook until tender but not too mushy, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water. Let cool for a few minutes then drain again and remove the fava beans from their outer soft skins using a paring knife to make a small slit and squeeze out the bean.
  2. Peel pearl onions. To do this I suggest you use the following method: Put water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Put ice cold water into another pot and set aside. Add the pearl onions to the pot with boiling water and wait for 30 seconds. Then take out and place in pot with cold water. Now, using a paring knife, cut off the root ends of the onions and hold the onion between your fingertips and gently squeeze out the onions from its skin. This way your pearl onions will reserve their beautiful shape.
  3. Now place a pot with lid and with a large enough base to hold the artichokes without overlapping each other. Place the pot on medium heat and add half of the olive oil. Wait until the oil is warm and add the pearl onions with two dashes of salt and one dash of caster sugar. Toss pearl onions until you obtain a slight caramelization, about 3-5 minutes. To do this, you can close the lid and shake the pot every once in a while.

  4. The ‘ready to use’ artichokes should be kept in water with added lemon juice to prevent any discoloration up to the very moment you will put them in the pot. Now briefly wash the artichokes under running water and place in pot. Take the pearl onions with a spoon and place 3 in the middle of each artichoke.
  5. Squeeze the juice of tangerine(s) and and half a lemon, add to the artichokes and sprinkle with salt. The liquid you add should be about 150 ml and should suffice to cook the artichokes, particularly if you are using a pressure cooker. At the end of the cooking time you should still have some remaining liquid in the pot to drizzle over when serving. If you cook artichokes in a normal pot, make sure to check on the amount of liquid during the cooking time and add a small amount of hot water if necessary.
  6. If you are using a pressure cooker, once the air vent is up, lower heat and set timer to 6-7 minutes. When cooking time has ended take cooker off the stove and wait until air vent goes to down position on its own.
  7. If you are cooking in a normal pot, cut out a round piece of baking paper and place over artichokes so as to cover them completely, then place lid on pot and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes or until artichokes are tender enough. Don’t forget to regularly check on the amount of cooking liquid left in the pot during the cooking time!
  8. Once the artichokes have thoroughly cooked gently take them out of pan and place on a serving plate. Transfer remaining cooking liquid to a bowl and set aside.

  9. Now place some fresh fava beans onto each artichoke, while the artichokes are still warm. Before serving, decorate with some fresh dill and drizzle with the cooking liquid you reserved. You an also drizzle some additional extra virgin olive oil.

Hope you enjoy & Bon Appétit!