On Saturday I gave a talk at Omnivore Books, a new store dedicated only to cookbooks. What a great place to browse and shop. The crowd was lively and not afraad to ask lots of questions. my favorite kind of audience. And they scarfed down all of the food I brought for them to taste. I made a fava bean puree seasoned with toasted cumin, lemon and garlic, from my book Mediterranean Fresh. And then I made Sicilian sweet and sour artichokes cooked in three citrus juices: orange, lemon and tangerine, from Italian Slow and Savory, and another version from Mediterranean Fresh. Those vanished in a heartbeat.
My biggest surprise was to hear that many in the audience had been following this blog, so now I feel guilty for not having wirtten more often. I’ve been unaware of this silent readership. Speak up, please, from time to time.
I will return to Omnivore on June 20 when my nerw book. Tapas, Sensational Small Plates frolm Spain, will be published by Chronicle Books. Hope we have another good crowd. I think it’s fun for people to get to taste a recipe or two before buying a book.
Here is one of the dishes I cooked on Saturday.
Carciofi ai Quattro Succhi
Artichokes Braised in Citrus Juices
Artichokes and citrus are a magic combination. I have braised artichokes in orange juice in recipes from Morocco and Turkey. This Sicilian classic, however, combines three citrus juices and vinegar, adds salt in the form of anchovies, and sugar for sweetness and flavor balance. These spectacular artichokes are best served at room temperature. They are stellar in an antipasto assortment.
3 onions, cut in half and sliced thin
½ cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup orange juice
½ cup tangerine juice
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed
4 anchovy fillets, finely minced
2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
Chopped mint, optional
Fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the juice of the lemon into it. If the artichoke stems are tender, trim them to 2 inches and peel. If not, cut the stems off close to the base. Remove the tough outer leaves, trim the tops of the artichokes with a sharp knife, pare away all the dark green parts, until you reach the pale green leaves. Cut the artichokes in half. Carefully scoop out the choke with a melon ball scoop, or a small pointed spoon. As each artichoke is trimmed, drop it into the lemon water.
In a Dutch oven heat ½ cup olive oil over low heat. Add the sliced onions and the drained artichoke halves along with the juices, vinegar, water and salt. Cover the pan and cook very slowly, over low heat, until the artichokes are tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.
With a slotted spoon carefully remove the artichokes to a serving bowl. To the juices remaining in the pan add the rinsed capers and reduce the sauce over high heat until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
In a small sauté or sauce pan warm the anchovies in a tablespoon of oil and when they are dissolved add them to the sauce, along with sugar. Cook for 5 minutes longer, adjust sweetness ratio and then spoon sauce over the artichokes. Serve at room temperature.
Garnish with chopped mint if you like.