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Artichoke Salad

Artichokes are another one of those things that took me a while to really like to eat, along with asparagus, mushrooms, and a few other foods.  Then, a few years back, I had them raw and thinly sliced dressed with olive oil and parmesan cheese.  I think I kind of fell in love with them then.  The creamy nuttiness of the cheese went along perfectly with the crunchy vegetable which picked up the fruitiness of the oil and the slight tang from the lemon juice and carried it along in delicious harmony.

When I was in Rome this past winter, I made it a point to eat this salad in several restaurants to get a feel for how it was put together.  Actually, I think I pretty much had artichokes every day that I was there, as the Romans are artists in preparing this vegetable for the table.  I’ve wanted to recreate the same dishes at home, but I get a little put off by all the prep work involved.  Then, I saw these baby artichokes at the Greenmarket and picked them up to give it a try.  I cleaned them per these instructions, and then just tossed them together with the minimum of ingredients to make an easy salad to salute the end of summer.

Artichoke Salad

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Serving Size: 2 adults (the kids will probably not touch this)

Ingredients:

1/2 Lemon, juiced

4 baby Artichokes or 2 full-sized Artichokes

1 tsp. highest quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 pinch freshly ground Black pepper

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Assembly:

Put 1 tsp. lemon juice into a bowl with 1 c. water to keep the artichokes from turning brown (If preparing these in advance, you can leave them in this acid bath until ready to assemble the salad.).  Strip outer leaves from artichoke to the white part.  Cut off the top 1/2 inch where the choke has started to form (no need to scoop out the whole thing if using the baby ones).  Rub the artichoke with a slice of lemon to keep it from turning brown, if not putting in the water with lemon juice.

About five minutes before you would like to serve the salad, slice the artichokes into thin slivers (julienne) and put half of them on each of two plates.  Drizzle each pile of artichokes with the olive oil and 1/8-1/4 tsp lemon juice and sprinkle the black pepper over it.  Dress each plate with half of the parmesan cheese shavings.  Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!