The French have an expression avoir un coeur d’artichaud (referring to someone with a fickle heart); why do I think of it whenever I think of using artichoke bottoms?
Heat index over 100F in Beirut, humidity at 80%, not the time to be planning heavy meals. Artichoke bottoms are widely available frozen (check middle-eastern grocers in your area) as well as fava beans if the thought of prepping artichokes and beans is not high on your list.
Poach eggs ahead of time; boil or steam the artichokes, fava beans and potatoes; prepare the sage pesto and you have got yourself a light luncheon very suitable for sultry weather.
For the sage pesto and dressing:
- one dozen leaves of fresh sage
- 2 cloves (or more, to taste) of garlic, mashed in a mortar with a pinch of salt
- olive oil and flavorless vegetable oil as needed
- juice of one large lemon or rice or white wine vinegar (half the volume as the oil or less, to taste)
- Mash the garlic with salt in a mortar; place in a blender with the sage, lemon juice and oil; process continuously till emulsified; taste and adjust seasoning.
For the vegetables and eggs:
- Poach the eggs by dropping them delicately in simmering water (to which you can add a half-teaspoon of white vinegar); remove from the water when the whites have set in about one or two minutes. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- Boil the fava beans for 3 minutes and peel; set aside. Boil the artichoke bottoms.
- Boil the potatoes cubed (or steam); set aside.
- When ready to eat the salad, assemble by placing the eggs on each artichoke bottom, cutting the edges with scissors if you wish and place the cubed potatoes in the middle, along with the fava beans; sprinkle some olives on top. Dress the salad with the sage dressing. Sprinkle olives on top. Crack some black pepper on your meal, if you wish.
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