Raw Artichoke Salad

Aginares Salata

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This unusual salad can be found only in Crete in the early spring, on the first days of Lent. It is served with the Lenten fish spreads—Taramosalata and Rengosalata—as an appetizer.

Only very young, tender artichokes should be used for this dish. If you try it once, you will certainly want to make it again.

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons
  • 5-6 small artichokes, about 2 inches in diameter

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Pour about 1 quart of water into a bowl and add the juice of 2 lemons. Remove the hard outer leaves of each artichoke with a sharp knife and keep snapping off leaves until you are left with a soft cone formed by the inner leaves and the heart.

Cut the remaining lemon in half and rub the cut surfaces of the artichokes to prevent discoloration. Trim the green tops of the cones and, with a teaspoon, reach in and remove the choke. Quarter each artichoke and cut each piece in half; rub with lemon again, and place on a plate.

When you have prepared all the artichokes, put the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, and minced garlic into a glass jar with a lid. Close the jar and shake well.

Pour the dressing over the artichokes, sprinkle with the dill, season with salt and pepper, toss well, and serve immediately.

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