Your weekly breakdown of what’s in your Fredagsgrønt, plus suggestions and ideas for what to do with it.
Brought to you by Farm of Ideas, Fredagsgrønt is a weekly vegetable subscription service that provides you with fresh, local and seasonal produce throughout the summer – the same produce used by Relæ, Manfreds, BÆST and Mirabelle Restaurant & Bakery.
For more information and to subscribe, head to Farm of Ideas.
This week’s box includes:
- Cucumber mix
- Onions Bianca di gigante
- Beetroots Touchstone Gold
- Avalanche Lettuce
- Collard Flash
- Herb mix
- Artichoke Romanesco
- Green beans
We’re especially excited about the artichoke in your box this week. We had to take a year break from them, after the last winter wiped out our crop. In areas where winters are mild, artichokes are perennials, yielding harvests for up to 5 years. We want to keep our artichokes going over the winter as it strengthens the roots which in turn produces more flowers in the autumn. Unfortunately, Copenhagen isn’t known for it’s easy winters, so we have to get creative.
Once the artichokes stops producing buds, we trim them back and cover them with straw which helps to protect them from frost. Then we have to keep our eyes peeled – some of the main plants shoot new ones from the root, which have to be cut out from the ground and kept in a pot during the winter – these babies don’t stand a chance on their own!
But what to do with an artichoke? Their tough exteriors and spiny petals can look intimidating, but they have tender hearts that are delicious with only butter for a companion. They’re striking to look at and simple enough to cook, so are a clear front runner for any dinner party. But if you want to up your artichoke game, we’d suggest a Roman Jewish classic: Carciofi alla giudia.
The origins of this dish are murky, but it’s believed to date back to the Roman Empire and has been mentioned in cookbooks dating as far back as the 16th century. It’s relatively simple and uses a staggeringly low amount of ingredients to achieve such a complex flavour, but does require some dedicated prep.
Carciofi alla giudia
- 2 lemons
- 3 Farm of Ideas’ Artichoke Romanesco
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Starting with one artichoke, begin trimming the leaves away from the base, removing the darker tough exterior and leaving the more tender inner portion. As you work your way up the artichoke, you’ll have to trim away progressively less of each ring of leaves. When you reach a little past the halfway point of the artichoke, where the leaves begin to slope in, make a horizontal cut to remove the top quarter or so of the artichoke. Next, cut into the top of the artichoke, keeping your knife almost vertical, to remove any spines there may be in the smaller leaves towards the heart of the flower.
- Next, trim away the tip of the stem, which will likely be black—you will see a ring in the middle of the cut surface. The outer layer of an artichoke stem is tough and fibrous. What is inside of this ring, however, is an extension of the heart: tender and tasty. Carefully peel or cut away the fibrous outer layer, rub the artichoke with a lemon to keep it from blackening, put it in a bowl of water with the juice of a lemon, and then trim the next artichoke.
- Heat 3 inches of olive oil in a deep, broad pot – large enough to contain the artichokes flat.
- While heating, stand your artichokes on kitchen paper to drain. Season the artichokes inside and out with salt and pepper and shake off the excess.
- Place your artichokes into the hot oil and cook for about 10 minutes, turning them so they cook evenly. Remove them to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Start to reheat your oil, hotter than the initial temperature before, as you’re now at the frying stage.
- Quick fry the artichoke for 3 – 4 minutes, until the stem is browned, then upend the artichoke using tongs – it should be stem-up with its top on the bottom of the pot. Press down gently; the leaves will brown thanks to the heat of the bottom of the pan, and the artichoke will open like a flower.
- While the artichoke is browning, line a second plate with kitchen paper. Put the first artichoke to drain blossom down, and continue with the next. Continue until you have finished frying your artichokes.
- Serve immediately, with optional lemon wedges for squeezing.
Let us know how you got on by tagging your dishes with #fredagsgrønt on Instagram!