Look at that black and white. Two sides of the same coin. The darkness of the world lurks, ever present, behind the light, ethereal artichoke. It's almost as though it's speaking to me: 'Don't be afraid'
When I was little my dad used to bring home bags of artichokes that he'd grown down south. We'd boil them up in a big pot, then peel off each individual leaf, dunk its fleshy bit in his homemade vinaigrette and eat our way down to the heart of the artichoke. The hearts were like gold dust! Hidden treasure that you had to work to uncover!
My artichoke plants in the garden have finally started producing the first wave of artichokes for the season, and it's a pretty lazy lunch as long as you know how to make my dad's vinaigrette.
Pure yellow, encased inside a spherical orb. Simplicity and perfection. A hint - almost tantalising - about what life might just be if we cast aside our baggage and worries and just embrace 'the now'. This bowl of olive oil is at one with 'the now' - you can tell by its limpid sheen. Oh, the sheen.
For the artichoke all you need to do is boil it until you can stick a knife all the way through. The vinaigrette on the other hand, is glorious and makes a really nice summer salad dressing too!
- White vinegar
- Olive oil
- Mustard powder
- Garlic (~4 cloves)
- Lemon juice
Optional extras: Lemon rind, Parsley, Mustard seeds, Aioli
Alone. Isolated. What is it thinking? How is it feeling? It might as well be the last artichoke on Earth. A sense of darkness and isolation, thrown into a piercing void of its own thistle-y consciousness. Screaming 'help' but there are no lips, only a quiet, beating heart.
Crush or finely chop the garlic. Put it in in a bowl with about 2tbps of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, about a tsp of mustard powder, maybe 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar, and the juice from a lemon. Mix it all around until it's well combined, then pour in the white vinegar (maybe... 1/4 cup?). It's a lot of guesswork, which is kind of fun because it means every batch is slightly different.
As long as you put in all the essential ingredients then you can just play with the ratios until you've got a vinaigrette you like. Then grab your freshly boiled artichoke and dip away!
Baptised in a boiling pot salty water, he emerges anew and is reunited at last. A family. A whole. Two lemons, and a bowl.