If you love artichokes and have access to fresh ones, this recipe for raw artichoke salad with Parmesan cheese, is simply devine!
When artichokes are in season, you will find this salad being prepared all over Italy. Once you have prepared your artichokes and had them sitting in a bowl of lemon water for a while, they will be ready for the next stage. Traditionally they would be served with good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, some fresh Parmesan and a little salt and pepper. At the farmer’s market at Rockledge Gardens, we have a range of different infused olive oils, balsamic vinegars and cheeses for you to choose from. All of which will make this little artichoke salad, really interesting.
Take some care to prepare your artichokes as laid out below and you will be enjoying their nutty and sweet flavor throughout the growing season.
Raw Artichoke Salad – serves 2
- 2 Globe artichokes
- 2 Fresh lemons
- Have a bowl of cold water with lemon juice handy, as well as some fresh lemon halves, to keep your artichoke pieces from oxidizing and turning brown. Rinse your artichokes under cold water, pulling the leaves apart gently to let the water run between them and flush out any impurities. Pat the artichokes dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Remove any stray leaves from the stem of the artichoke.
- With kitchen shears, or sharp scissors, remove the thorny tips from the leaves.
- With a serrated knife cut about an inch off of the top of the artichoke.
- Keep a lemon handy to rub onto the exposed areas so that they do not oxidize and turn brown.
- Remove the bitter, fibrous end of the stem with your knife, leaving about an inch left on the artichoke. Be sure to rub a lemon onto the exposed end of the stem.
- Peel the outer skin from the remaining stem. The stem can has a more bitter taste than the rest of the artichoke and removing the skin helps to take away some of the bitterness.
- Peel off 5-6 layers of external leaves from the artichoke, snapping off the leaves and setting them aside, till you reach an inner layer of leaves that are fresh looking and white at the base.
- Use a sharp serrated knife to remove the remaining outer leaves to reveal the very light green inner leaves of the artichoke. Begin by slicing off one side of the leaves, then continue slicing around the artichoke, turning the artichoke into the blade as you go. Be sure to keep rubbing lemon onto the exposed areas to keep them from browning.
- Discard external leaves, or you can keep them and steam them for eating later. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise to create two equal halves, exposing the purple inner choke. Rub exposed stem and leaves with lemon.
- With a melon baller, remove the choke – the furry, inedible center area, as well as any of the inner purple leaves. Rub the exposed areas with lemon.
- Make a 1-inch long slice through the bottom third of the artichoke; this will help when cutting on the mandoline.
- Slice the artichoke using a mandoline (leaf side up, exposed stem side down). Push the stem end into the blade to slice. Be very careful when you get near the end of the artichoke, so that you do not end up cutting your fingertips as well – this is very easy to do! You can cover your hand with a clean towel for extra protection. When you near the end of the artichoke, you can turn the remaining piece on its side to help with cutting. If you are not comfortable using a mandoline, attempt to slice them as thinly as possible with a sharp knife.
- Place the cut pieces of artichoke into the bowl of lemon water as soon as possible. Store them like this in the fridge up to 2 hours or until you are ready to use them.
- When you are ready to serve your artichoke salad, drain the artichokes from the lemon water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or an infused oil of your choice. Add a little salt and black pepper and some fresh parsley then toss it all together to combine.
- Place in a serving platter topped with freshly shaved or grated Parmesan cheese.
- Serve to the table and allow guests to add balsamic to their taste.