Dinner Tonight: Artichoke Salad

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artichokesIt’s finally spring… at least on the calendar! And even though there may be snow falling in much of the United States right now, I can’t help but feel that I need lighter, fresher meals. This artichoke salad is a fresh take on potato salad. This recipe is particularly good in the spring, when new potatoes, artichokes and leeks are in season and at their most tender, but if you are gung-ho on saying goodbye to winter, this salad can be a good option any time of year by trading out the artichokes for jarred artichokes or swapping them for whatever is seasonal in your area… think broccoli, green beans, or even radicchio.

This is a great and healthy side for almost any protein. Artichokes are high in magnesium, potassium and have more vitamin C than apples. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture published a study of antioxidant levels in 278 fruits and 303 vegetables and cited artichokes as among the antioxidant rich. Artichoke’s antioxidants, in the form of phytonutrients, help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Many people are intimidated by preparing artichokes. But you shouldn’t be. They may take a little longer to prepare than other vegetables, but the rewards are worth it!

Artichoke Salad

• 8 small new potatoes
• 8 baby artichokes
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium clove garlic, smashed
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 cups very thinly sliced leeks, well washed
• 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
• 2 small cucumbers, seeded and diced
• Fresh dill

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, cut into wedges, and set aside.

In the meantime, pull tough outer leaves from the artichokes and keep going until you reach the tender inner leaves. Trim off the stems and 1/2 inch or so of the top. Trim around the base, removing any rough remains of leaves. Slice in half lengthwise and, to keep the artichokes from browning, place them in a bowl of water with lemon juice added until ready to use. Sometimes artichokes will look a little fuzzy in the middle. Just take a spoon and carve out the fuzziness inside.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, prepared artichokes, 1/4 tsp of salt, and water. Toss to coat. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Then remove the cover and continue to cook, tossing regularly, until water has evaporated and artichokes are tender (3 to 5 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, over medium-low heat, add remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil, leeks and 1/4 tsp of salt. Stir regularly until they are wilted (about 5 minutes). Stir in vinegar and continue to cook on low for another 8 minutes, until the leeks are very tender. Remove from the heat and let cool just until warm.

Right before serving, combine potatoes, artichokes, leeks and cucumbers in a bowl or platter, then drizzle with about 2 Tbsp of lemon juice. Sprinkle with chopped dill and ENJOY!

Photo from here, with thanks.

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February 2023