WATCHING ROGER FELIP FROM MAS TRUCAFORT IN TARRAGONA MAKING A PAELLA FROM SCRATCH WAS INSPIRATIONAL (SEE PAGES 300-303). EVEN BETTER, HE MADE IT WITH A JAR OF PRESERVED ARTICHOKES FROM HIS OWN CELLAR, WHICH HE HAD PREPARED FROM THE ARTICHOKES GROWN IN HIS OWN GARDEN. IN THE SPANISH HOME KITCHEN, THE USE OF PRESERVED FRUIT AND VEGETABLES IS ALWAYS COUNTER-SEASONAL. IF THE ASPARAGUS ARE GOOD IN SPRING, YOU’LL BE EATING THE PRESERVED ONES IN SUMMER AND AUTUMN. IF THERE ARE QUINCES IN THE AUTUMN, YOU’LL BE EATING MEMBRILLO OVER WINTER. THOSE WITH A VEGETABLE GARDEN WILL KNOW THAT WHEN VEGETABLES ARE IN THEIR FULL FLUSH, YOU HAVE SO MANY YOU JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM. PRESERVING MAKES THE MOST OF THE BOUNTY AND, IN YEARS GONE BY, WAS A WAY OF GETTING THROUGH THE LEAN MONTHS OF WINTER.
Wash and sterilise two
Dissolve the sea salt in
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, trim the stems and cut off the top one-third to half of the artichokes. Snap off the tough outer leaves until you start to see leaves with a tender, yellowy base. Trim the stems around the base, then cut the artichokes lengthways into quarters. Using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard any hairy choke. Rinse in cold water, then drop the artichoke quarters into the boiling water in two batches and cook for 2 minutes. Drain well. Layer the artichokes in the jars, cover with the salted lemon water and seal.
Place an old plate on the bottom of a large heavy-based saucepan so the jars are not in direct contact with the base of the pan. Place the jars on the plate and transfer to the stovetop. Fill with enough cold water to cover the jars, then turn the heat to high. When the temperature reaches 80°C (175°F), reduce the heat and adjust it to keep the temperature at roughly 80°C (175°F) for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the jars from the water and allow to cool. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Once opened, the artichokes will keep, refrigerated, for 2–3 days.
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