Baby artichoke and roasted red pepper salad with chickpeas and mesclun ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

24 June 2014

Baby artichoke and roasted red pepper salad with chickpeas and mesclun

Baby artichoke and roasted red pepper salad with chickpeas and mesclun

We interrupt plum week (uh, two weeks?) to bring you this important bulletin.

SALAD IS AWESOME.

Maud at Food Feud was talking about advance prep for a week's worth of salads. Yes! LET'S DO IT.

On the menu:
- baby artichokes
- roasted red pepper
- and then a delightful salad! YAY.

I needed to use all the baby artichokes from the CSA box before they went off. This is always a challenge, since artichokes are not noticeably tender or easy to cut when raw. So I broke out our steel, sharpened my knives, and got to work.

cooked baby artichokes

How to cook baby artichokes

baby artichokes
1-2 lemons
water
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove for each 2 baby artichokes

Start by trimming your baby artichokes. This is the hardest part of the whole process. Essentially, you want to chop off the top third of the artichoke, trim the bottom of the stem and peel it thickly, and then cut around and around the edges of your artichoke until all the dark green and purple is removed. You should be left with a little yellow-green nugget of excellence.

Have a big bowl of water ready with the juice of one or two lemons squeezed into it (and the empty peels dropped in too). As you trim each artichoke, drop it into the acidulated water. This will keep your artichokes from oxidizing and turning black.

When all your artichokes are trimmed, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and crushed garlic cloves. Then toss in your artichokes, right side up. Simmer, covered, for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender to the point of a knife. Full-size artichokes can go up to 35 minutes.

When your artichokes are done, pull them out of the water and drain them upside down for a few minutes. Then you can halve or quarter them, or leave them whole if they are particularly small. Note that you do not have to remove chokes from baby artichokes, as they are not yet formed. If you're doing this with full-size artichokes, you'll need to get in there with a spoon and scoop out any sharp thistley bits.

Store your artichokes with the lemon husks in a closed container in the fridge. Now you can pull out a handful whenever you want salad!

roasted red pepper strips in olive oil

How to roast bell peppers over the gas flame

bell peppers of your choice
tongs
paper bag or sealable container large enough to hold your peppers

This is easy but requires some attention and care.

If your peppers have stems, cut them off. This is just to keep any dangling bits from catching on fire. The base of the stem can stay on, so the pepper as a whole is intact.

Turn on your gas burner to medium-high. Using your tongs, set the pepper right on the grate over the flame.

The flames will gradually char and roast the pepper. Turn your pepper as it cooks, so all the flesh is evenly blistered and blackened. The creases in the pepper may not want to char; this is okay.

When the majority of your pepper skin is charred, take your pepper off the heat. Put it into a paper bag or other unmeltable container and seal. Leave it there for at least five minutes. Inside the bag, the steam from the hot pepper will loosen the skin.

Repeat this for all the peppers you want to roast.

Remove your roasted peppers from the bag and remove the skins by rubbing them under a stream of cool water. Most of the skin will flake off easily. It's fine to leave any stuck bits of uncharred skin on the flesh.

Tear each pepper in half and remove the stem and seeds. Separate into sections and chop up into any shapes you like.

Voila! Roasted red pepper! I cut mine into strips and stored them in a little olive oil in the refrigerator.

Now that you have a selection of delightful vegetables ready to go at a moment's notice, you can make a salad like this in no time flat.

Baby artichoke and roasted red pepper salad with chickpeas and mesclun

Baby artichoke and roasted red pepper salad with chickpeas and mesclun

mesclun mix
cooked baby artichokes
roasted red pepper
cooked chickpeas (canned or previously cooked & cooled)
olive oil
lemon juice or vinegar
salt, pepper

Arrange your mesclun mix on a plate. Scatter with big handfuls of artichokes, red pepper, and well-drained chickpeas.

Make a simple dressing by drizzling some olive oil over your plate, squeezing a lemon wedge over the top, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Or just use the vinaigrette of your choice.

Eat with vigor! Hooray!

And since you have the rest of the baby artichokes and red pepper strips in the refrigerator, you can have salads like this all week. Or use them for other things! Blend the baby artichokes with some white beans and garlic to make the world's best dip and/or sandwich spread. Toss the roasted pepper into a rice pilaf. Put big handfuls of both artichokes and peppers into a hearty pasta sauce. HAVE IT ALL.

What delights do you like to have on hand for an emergency salad session?

3 comments:

June Baby said...

That looks delicious! I love roasted vegetables in the summertime! :)

Joanne said...

Yay for fun salads like this! I never know what to do with fresh artichokes, but this will be a summer staple. I just know it.

Ami@naivecookcooks said...

Wow I love artichokes and this salad looks just perfect with all these artichokes!!