Bring a large pot (large enough to hold the artichokes comfortably) of salted water to the boil. Add the beans, bring back to the boil and cook until al dente (about 2 minutes). Remove using a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water. Put the lemon pieces and coriander seeds into the pot and boil for 1 minute, then add the artichokes and return to the boil; cook on a rolling boil for 15—25 minutes – the time will depend on the size of the artichokes. To test, insert a skewer or sharp knife into the base and push into the centre: they are cooked when this can be done with only slight resistance. Remove the artichokes from the water, drain with the stem side up and leave to cool.
When the artichokes are cool enough to handle start pulling off the leaves. (The leaves are edible: you just hold the outer edge and scrape the fleshy bits off with your teeth, so they could be served as a separate dish.) Once all the leaves are removed pull out the centre ‘choke’, which is fibrous and inedible. Trim off any bits that look too chewy with a sharp knife. Lightly brush the hearts with some of the olive oil and grill until they start to colour a golden brown. This can be done on a skillet, over a barbecue or under a domestic oven grill. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together well and pour over the artichokes, mix in the beans and leave to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Check for seasoning.
© 1997 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.