April 26, 2012

Spring is finally with us, and with that we see the arrival on some fresh vegetables.

Last week, I came across some lovely baby artichokes, from Italy. They were a beauty, fresh, tender and full of flavour. When the artichokes are this tender, you can eat them raw in salad, they taste great just like that.

This time I’ve decided to pickle them to preserve them for the winter.

I started by cleaning them. I normally take off the outer dark leaves, then I cut the tip, about 1 cm in.

Next, cut the artichokes in half and with a small, sharp knife and take off the “beard” in the heart of the artichokes. It’s a time consuming job, but worthwhile.

Next thing to do, is to pickle the artichokes.

Bring to a boil half a litre of water and half a litre of vinegar. In this case I used red wine vinegar but you can use any kind of vinegar. I also add black peppercorn, salt and bay leaves.

Once the mix is boiling, pour the artichokes in and cook for 3 minutes.

I like to keep the artichokes crunchy, but if you boil them for 1 or 2 minutes more you can get them softer.

Once cooked, drain and allow to cool on a kitchen cloth, to get rid of most of the water.

Once the artichokes are cold, it’s time to pour them in jars.

Clean the jars and sterilize them. You can put the jar in an oven at 90OC for 4 min. or boil the jar for 3 min to allow cooling.

Pour the artichokes in the jar and push them in a bit so you can fit more in to it.

Now it’s time to cover them with olive oil.

You can just pour good olive oil on it or aromatize the olive oil.

I normally cut a couple of fresh chillies in half and add a few garlic cloves and some peppercorns.

I heat a bit of olive oil up and fry the ingredients quickly. Allow to cool and mix with the rest of the olive oil.

Pour the olive oil in the jar to cover the artichokes. Close the lid tightly and put a sticker with the date.

Enjoy it!

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