Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there!! This is my favorite holiday! Milk it for all it’s worth. I like to think of it as Mother’s Day WEEKEND! Yesterday we saw Gatsby at the movies. It is one of my favorite novels, having read it at least three times. The movie was just great, full of glitz and glamour, I could not stop grinning from ear to ear during all of the party scenes, wishing I could have been there. Steve made me breakfast this morning, (not in bed – that’s gross), complete with roses and a hysterical card. I got to garden and go bike riding. And my boys are making me a surprise dinner tonight in the city! I can’t wait!
But first, let me tell you about our dinner salad last night because it is the season for all these rare and young things! Ramps, fiddlehead ferns and now baby artichokes. At my stores, they sell them by the dozen, boxed. With just the two of us, that makes it challenging to use. So last week, I made salads with them raw and thinly sliced on a mandoline. Then I steamed some, like you would a regular sized artichoke and then the rest were now several days old and 2 kids came home for dinner by surprise last Thursday. The artichokes were not fresh enough to serve raw, so I decided to slice them up and sauté them with my baby bok choy and garlic. They were delicious!!
So last night, I just went straight to that method and put them on top of an arugula salad, with a fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing and some slices of Parmigiano reggiano. Delish!! The lovely woody, warm, tender artichokes on top of the cool crisp arugula, combined with the Parmigiano and lemon and olive oil – so simple – yet different and delicious!! It is always about the quality of the ingredients in any dish but particularly in something as simple as this. Because it is so simple, each ingredient can shine. And if something is not the greatest quality, it will scream out too. So use the best you can.
The thing about baby artichokes that kills me is that you have to throw so much away to get to the tenderness inside. I guess that’s my depression era mother rising up in me again. Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom!
SAUTEED BABY ARTICHOKES AND ARUGULA SALAD WITH PARMIGIANO
– serves 2
4 baby artichokes
½ tbs. unsalted butter
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice or more to use on the artichokes to prevent browning
1 bunch of arugula
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
Scant ½ cup olive oil
Wash and spin dry the arugula and chill in the refrigerator. Make the dressing by combining the mustard, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Slice your cheese and cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
Wash the baby artichokes and remove all the outer leaves, peel the stems, and cut off about 1” from the top. Slice each one in half and then slice each half in 3 or 4 slices. Work quickly and drizzle a little lemon juice on, to prevent them from turning dark, which they will do rather quickly.
Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add sliced artichokes. Saute until tender and golden brown, using a cover for the pan to produce some steam and moisture, stirring often. This will take 10 – 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and remove when fork tender.
Distribute your washed arugula on two salad plates. You probably won’t use it all.
Scatter the artichokes over the plated arugula, along with the slices of cheese. Drizzle on some dressing and serve immediately. You will have dressing left over which will keep in the refrigerator.
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