Break away from mundane salads with this stunning recipe featuring artichoke, ricotta, and a flavourful tomato and rosemary vinaigrette. Not only is it ideal as a side, it is also delicious on its own.
6 whole globe artichokes
juice of 1 lemon
150 grams firm ricotta
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
100 ml olive oil
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large vine tomato, halved, seeded and diced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice.
Snap off the tough outer leaves from each artichoke until you come to the paler leaves at the base. Cut off the tips of the remaining leaves. Peel the outer layer of the stem and trim the end.
Halve the artichoke lengthwise and use the tip of a teaspoon to remove the hairy choke and pull out the small purple inner leaves. Take care not to scoop out any of the tender heart.
Immediately place in the bowl of lemon water and repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Drain and place in a saucepan of salted water. Put a small plate on top to keep them submerged during cooking. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until tender when pierced with a skewer. Place cut side down on kitchen towels to drain.
Cut the artichokes into quarters and arrange on a serving platter. Pat the ricotta with kitchen towels to remove excess liquid. Break into bite-sized pieces and dot between the artichokes.
Dressing: Put the olive oil, onion and rosemary in a small saucepan and cook gently for 3-4 minutes until the onion has started to soften a little. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, garlic and tomato. Season and cool.
To serve: Stir the flat-leaf parsley into the dressing and spoon over the artichokes and ricotta. Grind over a little pepper.
Tinned whole marinated artichokes can also be used. These are available from specialty food stores and good supermarkets.