With the onset of summer, the time has come to clear out the freezer. The majority of the contents consists of bread, pastry, egg whites, sauces, ice cream, frozen summer fruits, and some labour saving products which we buy from the amazing freezer shop Picard. Amongst these are peeled broad beans, monkfish tails with all the difficult membranes removed, and artichoke hearts. I think artichoke hearts are delicious, but it’s rare to find the same enthusiasm amongst friends and acquaintances. Elizabeth David writes about a gargantuan lunch at the celebrated Mere Brazier in Lyons that included saucisson en brioche, sole meuniere and poularde demi-deuil , after which she was afraid that she would not be able to eat the fond d’artichaut, which was traditionally served with a thick slice of foie gras. I am still amazed that people can eat that much food at a single sitting, but that is beside the point which is that the artichoke heart arrived on top of a small salad of lettuce hearts that had been dressed with olive oil, salt, lemon juice and tarragon vinegar. That sounded so good and I was looking at a handful of thawed artichokes with which to experiment. I had a small amount of St.Agur blue cheese that I mixed with creme fraiche and chopped fresh tarragon to put into the conveniently shaped bowl of the artichoke heart. The salad was dressed with walnut oil, salt and lemon. This might be the answer to my doubting friends.
Should you be spending time in France, make sure that you check out Picard – http://www.picard.fr/ – ca vaut le detour.