Cooking artichokes is one of our favourite family traditions and this artichoke recipe has been passed down through the generations.
Artichoke is a traditional Mediterranean vegetable with origins dating back to ancient Greek and the Romans, served as a delicacy and an aphrodisiac to the aristocrats. This recipe represents slow food in its finest form - it's a bit messy but loads of fun to eat.
The reason this recipe is special is because it requires the family to come together and create as a team. It requires planning and is quite a process. My parents grow the garlic, parsley and olives so it also involves harvesting these beforehand. This ensures ingredients are at their freshest.
It wouldn't be an artichoke cook up without notifying all the members of our large family that it was happening. My parents tell the family of the upcoming cooking day to ensure everyone is included. Eager not to miss out, those interested place ‘forward orders’ and a few of us get together to make it happen over a cooking feast. There's a lot of laughter and activity when artichokes are being prepared. It's a lovely way to get together and share in our parents joy, culture, and upbringing.
- Soak the artichokes stems and heads in fresh water for 24 hours.
- Cut the stem off, just below the artichoke heart. Peel the stems and set aside while soaking in water.
- Wash and open the hearts under a running tap, seperating the leaves gently to ensure the head doesn't fall apart. This will make the artichoke easier to fill.
- Chop the parsley, garlic, leeks and add to a large bowl with the olives.
- Add 1 cup of olive oil and the pepper. Combine with your hands.
- Insert the parsley mix between as many artichoke leaves as possible, using up all of the filling.
In a large pot, layer endive leaves then place the artichokes upright on top.
Add the stems and potatoes. Fill the pot half way up the artichokes with water. Drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar over the artichokes and season with salt and pepper.
Place the pot on the stove and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until the potatoes are cooked.
To serve, drizzle with olive oil, add anchovies and olives if desired.