Monday, April 02, 2007

Artichoke Panzanella - A Recipe Worth Repeating

Don't let Spring Go By Without It

picture photograph how to make recipe for artichoke panzanella salad 2007 copyright of sam breach
a far more appetizing photograph of Artichoke Panzanella than last year's attempt

Last year I posted a recipe for Artichoke Panzanella Salad which received some attention at the time, not least because Fred declared it to be "The Best Thing You Ever Did". I could almost barely wait to make it again this year. Sometimes when I see a favourite vegetable re-appear at the market after months and months of absence, I play a little game with myself. I make myself wait a bit longer. I try not to buy it, at least until the next week comes round. I have been avoiding the artichokes for a few weeks, but last Saturday it seemed like exactly the right moment. The medium artichokes from Iacopi ($1 each or $5 for half a dozen) were absolutely perfect. They couldn't have been more easy to prepare and the salad couldn't have been more delicious. If you are new to my blog, or you didn't make this last year, your time is now...

Stage 1 - Prepare the Artichokes:

- Prepare 3 medium 6 medium/small artichokes, trimming the tough outer leaves, halving to remove the choke and then cutting each half into three or four depending on the size. (For top notch instructions on artichoke preparation look here.)
- 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.

Stage 2 - Prepare the Salad:

Prepped Artichokes (see Stage 1 above)
1 day-old loaf rustic white bread or pain au levain or similar
1/2 cup Olive Oil, (plus more for the bread)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 cup cured green olives, pitted (mixed olives work too)
1/2 lb arugula salad
2 oz Manchego cheese, grated (four ouces won't do the salad any harm either and shavings work just as well even better, i have decided.)
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 at least 10 minutes.
- Immediately prior to serving toss in the arugula leaves and the grated shaved Manchego cheese.
Sample the salad and then adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve, enjoy!

PS I learnt to make this salad at Tante Marie's Cooking School the year before last, in a class taught by Jessica Lasky who adapted it from Everyday Greens by Annie Sommerville. The above recipe includes further adaptions from me.

PPS - Thank you all for all the wonderful and truly supportive comments on my previous April Fool's post. I laughed and cried with all of you. I have made my peace with Justin Berton and Michael Bauer but I never heard back from Stacy Finz.
PPS - I hope nobody really expected me to get all crafty...?

Local Resources
Arugula | Star Route Farms
Artichiokes | Iacopi
Olive Oil | Bariani
Bread | Acme

Other Resources & Further Reading
How to Trim An Artichoke

2006 | Liver Me Timbers! | Chicken Liver Crostini
2005 | Colours of Spring in Marin

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Artichoke Panzanella - A Recipe Worth Repeating


  • At 3/4/07 00:21, Blogger Dagny said…

    I love just about anything that includes artichokes.

    And now that I have seen your abilities, yes, I do expect you to get crafty every now and then. Knowing you, you'll find a way to still incorporate food into the post.

  • At 3/4/07 01:44, Blogger Trig said…

    I bought some purple artichokes yesterday. I've yet to discover whether the taste is as good, but they would certainly add a bit of colour to a dish. Mind you, your dish looks good enough without anything extra.

  • At 3/4/07 05:38, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This salad looks amazing. I'm going out to buy some artichokes and arugula right away.

  • At 3/4/07 09:05, Blogger Sarah said…

    Wow this salad sounds delicious! Thank goodness it is Spring and thank goodness I am a daily reader of your blog. I can't wait to try this salad out. Thanks for typing out the directions so well.

    Happy Spring and Happy Easter Sam!

  • At 3/4/07 09:55, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Sam I'm not an artichoke fan but the salad does look lovely and did Fred like as much as last year ?

  • At 3/4/07 10:44, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi sam,
    artichokes scare me but you make it sounds so easy. i just may try it. :) plus it is time for me to make some panzanella. yours sounds delicious.

  • At 3/4/07 13:51, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    I feel so sheepish about the meager artichoke post over on my blog. Your dish is so beautiful. I'm far too lazy; I just pop the whole things in a pot of boiling water.
    But you know that wonderful magic taste you get in your mouth from eating artichokes? Mine was so tasty, it even made the water I was drinking taste "golden."

  • At 3/4/07 14:34, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I so wish I'd have had this recipe on my anniversary!! I'll lend my hand to it this weekend. And I'll let you know how it goes.

    Oh, I'm still saluting you on Friday at my place.

  • At 3/4/07 22:42, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My lovely husband will never let me live this dish down. He had never prepared an artichoke before and only eaten a few. I left him the fully printed recipe + artichoke prep instructions while I was at work and told him to "whip it up" for a potluck picnic we were going to that summer evening. I came home and there were artichoke parts everywhere in the kitchen. He exasperatingly whined about how it took him 2 hours to make one salad and how he saved all the parts so I could see all the work he had done! I snickered. Luckily it was beyond the biggest hit of the party. One gourmand had 3 helpings and his 25 year old son said he didn't remember him ever having 3 helpings of anything in his life because he was so picky. Think I'll whip some up soon myself. Enormous thanks for this fabulous recipe :)

  • At 5/4/07 11:38, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Sam,
    Gorgeous! - I am going to try this out for an Easter dinner I've been invited to this weekend. I wanted to ask, though, if you have an idea if any parts of this could be done the day before? I've not prepared artichokes this way before, so I am not sure whether they would be ok overnight in the fridge.

    Also, any guesses as to how many people this recipe as written will serve?
    Thanks so much,
    Sarah (a quite new reader)

  • At 6/4/07 06:59, Blogger Honeybee said…

    Your post couldn't come at a better time for me as I have some gorgeous purple artichokes waiting in the fridge and I have been looking for some inspiration and instructions!

  • At 9/4/07 16:55, Blogger Unknown said…

    I was inspired to make the bread salad for my easter dinner paired with a veal chop. Very tasty. I am thinking that I might play around a bit next time and saute the artichokes to get a bit more nuttiness going on. I read you blog often and have never commented. I know that some of the recent press has been discouraging but I really appreciate your efforts and look forward to more.


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