I love artichokes, one of the first spring vegetables to appear in greengrocers. I love them finely shaved raw in a salad, deep-fried Roman-style (carciofi alla Giudia), and preserved on an antipasto plate. But most of all I love them in this very rustic dish of stuffed artichokes, which you have to eat with your hands removing one leaf at a time and scraping the tender base off between your teeth. They are a little messy, but well worth it! For a more refined dish that can be eaten with a knife and fork, trim more of the tough leaves away leaving only soft, edible leaves, but it won’t be as much fun (see video below for a step-by-step guide to preparing and eating artichokes)! Make fresh breadcrumbs from stale bread – or a loaf of good white bread sliced and left to dry overnight – blitzed in a food processor until coarsely crumbed. Freeze excess breadcrumbs in an airtight container to have on hand whenever they’re needed and use them straight from the freezer. Artichokes are notoriously difficult to match with wine, as cynarin, a bitter compound in them, makes many taste sweet and simple. My answer is a fortified – especially an Amontillado Sherry such as Sanchez Romate’s NPU, dry with some nice nutty, spicy notes and a hint of its own bitterness.
Serves 4 as a starter
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