Monday, March 17, 2008

Carciofi Alla Romana

There were some particularly beautiful organic artichokes at our local store yesterday, so I picked a couple out and today they came in super-handy. Milo wanted kidney beans, and we had white ones, so I put them in water to soak and then went to work, jumping back in around 3 to simmer them with sautéed onion, garlic, and rosemary so they'd be ready at 5 when I normally knock off for the day. (Pre-child, we'd often eat at 9 or 10 but that's now ancient history.) Leftovers and perishables dictated the rest of the meal.

I made more of the arugula-dandelion mash, because it's awesome, and goes with everything. I wrote a post about mash here, and I can't say enough good things about it. It's intensely flavored, raw, super-healthy, and as comfortable on a plate of vegan fare as it is offering a fabulous counterpoint to red meat. It's infinitely variable, and can be made with any fresh seasonal greens (including weeds like dandelions, purslane, and garlic chives.) Expect to be bored silly by how many times I mention it in the coming months.

So tonight's resulting dinner was the white beans folded into the leftover parsnip purée, topped with an artichoke, accompanied by mash, and finished with lemon juice, the artichoke cooking oil, and parsley. Artichokes are notoriously cranky wine partners, but cooking them this way so that they caramelize makes them much friendlier. It also means that the eater doesn't have to do any work because the cook already did; everything on the plate is edible, and said caramelization guarantees that every little bit will be eaten. This (and the less-healthy "alla giudia" method) are simply the apotheosis of artichoke preparation- you don't ever go back. We drank a 2006 Sancerre by Franck Millet, which for the money is a pretty nice wine that flattered this complex spectrum of flavors like good lighting does good painting.


Heather said...

Pass me a plate and a dozen soft flat breads and leave me alone.

Was the wine sweet with the artichokes, or is that a myth?

Zoomie said...

Mmm, artichokes! So glad they are back in season! Love the way you threaded the stem with the slice of lemon.

peter said...

H: It didn't taste sweet, but that depends on the wine. I think extensive scientific research involving hundreds of artichokes and hundreds of bottles is required. Do you think we can get a grant?

Z: Welcome back. If they weren't $3.50 a piece we'd have these every day.

Zoomie said...

Have 'em daily anyway. Life is short.

peter said...

You're right. I'm on it.