Recipe of the week: Artichokes with fava beans: A taste of Rome—and spring

Yotam Ottolenghi builds on her grandmother's approach to preparing artichokes.

Thinking about vegetarian dishes “gets me excited,” said Yotam Ottolenghi in Plenty (Chronicle). Mind you, I’m not a vegetarian: Meat and fish are always “in the back of my mind.” But I was brought up in Israel, a place where myriad regional cuisines meet and together celebrate “a multitude of vegetables, pulses, and grains.” I “go dizzy with the multiple possibilities” that come to my mind whenever I consider even a single ingredient.

Vegetarian dishes can be as substantial and satisfying as anything you might create from a cut of meat. Take for example this recipe for an appetizer or side. It pays homage to my grandmother, who was born in Rome to a Jewish family and learned to prepare artichokes by deep-frying them in olive oil. I’ve built on her approach to artichokes using lemon, crushed fava beans, and panko—a light Japanese bread crumb.

Recipe of the week

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Globe artichokes with fava beans

1¾ cups shelled fava beans (fresh or frozen)

1 small garlic clove, crushed

Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tsp Maldon sea salt

Black pepper

2–3 globe artichokes

Juice of 3 lemons, plus extra halves to serve

1 egg, beaten

3 tbsp panko bread crumbs

3 tbsp chopped mint

2 tbsp chopped dill

Bring saucepan of water to boil and blanch beans for 3 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water, and leave in colander to dry. Once dry, remove outer skins by pressing gently between thumb and forefinger.

Put beans into food processor with garlic, 4 tbsp oil, ½ tsp salt, and some black pepper. Pulse a few times to crush, but don’t puree. (This step can also be accomplished using a fork.) Set aside.

To prepare artichokes, cut off most of the stalk and pull off the tough outer leaves. Once you reach the pale softer leaves, trim off the top so only the base remains. Scrape it clean with a knife, removing any remaining tough leaves and the hairy choke. Rub artichokes with juice of one lemon and place in bowl with cold water. Add juice of another lemon and the squeezed lemon halves.

Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Carefully drop in the artichokes and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until a knife pierces them easily. Drain well and dry on a dish towel. Place in bowl with beaten egg and mix well. Spread panko on plate and season with salt. Gently place artichokes into the panko and coat with the crumbs.

Pour oil into a small saucepan to come 1¼ inches up the side; heat until almost smoking. Add artichokes and fry until golden brown (about 4 minutes), turning to color evenly. Transfer artichokes to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt.

Mix chopped herbs and juice of the third lemon into the crushed fava beans. Spoon a little onto a serving plate. Place an artichoke on top and fill with crushed beans. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve with lemon half. Serves two.

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