"The Best Thing You Ever Did"
Fred was moved to declare "Zeez eez ze best ting you eveur did" when I first made him this dish about a month and a half ago. I stared at him agog. "The best thing I ever did?" I nervously responded, my mind flashing with mini movies of all the other wonderful things I had done in the presence of Fred. He quickly realised his faux pas and ammended his statement. "No, eetz not the best ting you eveur did, eetz ze best salad you did so far." Phew, I thought, as he added an A+++ to the recipe just for good measure.
I learnt to make this salad at Tante Marie's Cooking School last year, in a class taught by Jessica Lasky who adapted it from Everyday Greens by Annie Sommerville. The following recipe includes further adaptions from me.
Stage 1 - Prepare the Artichokes:
Prepare 3 medium artichokes, trimming the tough outer leaves, halving to remove the choke and then cutting each half into three or four depending on the size.
In a saucepan, prepare a cooking liquid using 2 1/2 cups of water, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup white wine, the juice of two lemons, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, 2 garlic cloves (unpeeled but smashed with a knife), a couple of sprigs of thyme, one bay leaf, salt and pepper. Drop the prepped artichokes into the liquid, cover loosely and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the artichokes are tender. Drain, removing the herbs and garlic and then toss the vegetables with tablespoon of olive oil, 1 medium garlic clove, minced, the zest of a small lemon plus salt and pepper to taste.
For the Panzanella Artichoke Salad:
1 day-old loaf rustic white bread
1/2 cup Olive Oil, plus more for bread
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 cup cured green olives, pitted
1/2 lb arugula salad
2 oz manchego cheese, grated
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F
Remove crusts from the bread and cut into cubes.
In a large bowl, toss the bread with enough olive oil to soak into the cubes and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the cubes on a large baking tray and pop in the oven for about 10 minutes until they are crisp and golden.
Mix the vinegars in a bowl with salt and pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of olive oil slowly, until the dressing blends and emulsifies.
In a large bowl toss together the artichokes, bread, olives and the vinaigrette and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
Immediately prior to serving toss in the arugula leaves and the grated Manchego cheese.
Sample the salad and then adjust salt and pepper to taste.
PS. Check out the Andrew's Announcement about the May Edition of
PPS. "...a blog from restaurant critic Michael Bauer, scheduled to begin May 1" [SFgate, April5]. I can't wait til tomorrow for this. He's got some tough competition in the form of New York Times' Frank Bruni whose blog absolutely kicks arse.
PPPS. Monkey Gland has finished rounding up the girls' What's For Pud English desserts. For a full list of delicious links, check out his roundup post at Jam Faced!
PPPPS. The Eat Local Challenge for 2006 starts on May 1st, check out the blogging efforts on this new website.
Links, Resources and Further Reading
How to Trim an Artichoke | Full Pictorial Guide
Bay Area Resources:
Manchego Cheese | from Cowgirl Creamery
Artichokes | from Iacopi Farm
Arugula | from Tairwa Knolls Farm
Olives | Henry's Organic Green Olives from Eureka (via Cowgirl)
Italian Batard | from Acme Bread
The Ferry Building | Market Place
Saturday Morning | Farmers Market
More IMBB Stale Bread Recipes | Obsession With Food
|Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Another recipe Fred raved about|
Food | Eat Local | imbb25 | San Francisco | Bay+Area | Recipe | Salad "The Best Thing You Ever Did"