Raw artichoke salad with grilled bread
When baby artichokes are available one of the ways to serve them is raw, very thinly sliced and tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I serve them with spring greens and baby arugula to layer the flavours, and shave parmigiano on top. It is a delicacy that if you love artichokes I am sure you would appreciate.
Baby artichokes work best but for this salad but if you don’t have them use the hearts of regular artichokes. In this case there will be some waste because you will throw away all the outer leaves and only use the heart.
2 small or 1 large artichoke per person, depending on size
2 lemons, one squeezed , one cut in wedges
Salt and pepper
Mixed greens including baby arugula
French baguette sliced thinly
Place juice from one lemon in a bowl large enough to hold the sliced artichokes.
Slice the top half off the artichokes and peel the outer layers of harder leaves until you reach the tender heart and inner leaves. I do this by cutting around the bottom of the artichokes with a small sharp knife, something akin to peeling an apple.
Once trimmed, cut the artichoke in half vertically, and remove any hairy bits from the center.
Immediately rub the cut surface with lemon (use a wedge of lemon).
Cut artichokes oxidize quickly so work on one half artichoke at a time, leaving the other half in the bowl with the lemon juice to prevent it from browning.
With a sharp knife or a mandolin slice the trimmed heart very thinly. Immediately drop the slices into a bowl with lemon juice.
Continue with the other half, then proceed with remaining artichokes.
Gather the greens into a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to coat the leaves.
Add a tablespoon of lemon juice (or you can use good white vinegar) and sprinkle a few drops over the salad.
Add salt and pepper, taste to correct oil to acidity balance, toss lightly again and arrange on individual salad plates.
Drizzle olive oil over the artichoke slices in the bowl, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Taste and if needed, squeeze more lemon juice over the artichokes.
Pile the artichokes over the salad.
Shave plenty of parmesan over and serve immediately.
Toasted baguette slices:
Pour a thin film of oil into a large skillet.
Press the thin bread slices into the oil and place over medium-high heat.
Cook until the bread is beginning to turn golden on the bottom, then turn over with a spatula and toast the other side just until beginning to turn golden.
The bread should be toasted but still slightly chewy, not completely dry.