Artichokes and potatoes with oloroso sherry

Serves 4

Sunday 18 November 2007 01:00
Comments

Sam Clark says: "This dish is delicious on its own or served with fish, meat – pretty much everything!"

500g small potatoes, scrubbed
5 medium globe artichokes
8 tbsp (120ml) olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
150ml medium oloroso sherry
100ml water
1 1/2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint
1 lemon, squeezed

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, then drain. Peel them, and set aside. To prepare the artichokes, have ready a bowl of cold water with the lemon juice squeezed in and the squeezed lemon half bobbing around in it. Work on one artichoke at a time, and get it in the lemony water quickly to stop it going brown. The general rule when preparing artichokes is that what is green is tough and what is yellow is tender. Cut off the stalk from the base, peel about 2mm off all around the stalk, cut it into 2cm lengths and put it in the water. Now carefully snap or pull off the layers of tough, green outer leaves until you reach the ones that are mostly yellow, and therefore tender. Cut the darker tips off these, then peel the tough green outside of the base (heart) of the artichoke with a small, sharp knife until you see yellow. Scrape out all the furry choke from inside the artichoke with a teaspoon. Cut the prepared artichoke in half lengthways and then cut each half into small wedges no more than 1.5cm wide. Place in the water and start on the next one. Just before cooking the artichokes, drain them well and toss with a pinch of salt.

Place a large, heavy saucepan over a medium heat and heat six tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir in the onion and a pinch of salt and turn the heat to medium-low. Fry for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and starting to colour. Add the artichokes and fry for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes are partly cooked. Add the garlic, cook for one minute, and pour in the sherry and water. Add half the mint. Put the potatoes on top and cover with greaseproof paper and a lid. Steam for about five minutes or until the artichokes are tender. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. The sauce should be quite wet but if not, add a splash of water. Check seasoning and add the remaining mint. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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