Globe artichokes are daunting. They produce a disproportionate ratio of debris to edible parts and the hairy choke can seem impossible to loosen. Classical cuisine calls for them to be cooked in a blanc, a mixture of flour, lemon juice and water. This succeeds in keeping the hearts white but leaves a slimy coating – often an uncleanable saucepan as well.
Organizing a small production line as on the previous pages will make the process simple. If this seems an absurd performance for a few vegetables, the results should compensate. Once this setup is in place you can as easily prepare six or 60 artichokes. Perhaps the moral here is to cook artichokes for large parties and not impromptu lunches.
Prepare the artichokes as described on the previous page.
Cover the pan with a circle of greaseproof (parchment) paper and boil the artichokes gently until they are tender enough to pierce easily with the tip of a sharp knife, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the cooking liquor.
Make the hollandaise sauce as directed, then add the chopped fresh mint.
To complete the dish, lift the artichokes from the cooking liquid and spoon away the hairy fibres from the centre of each one. Reheat the hearts in some of the cooking liquor.
Boil and roughly mash the peas. Spoon some in the centre of each artichoke heart, place on a serving plate and spoon over the hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately.
© 2000 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.