Spring is in its full swing!  To welcome spring here at Oliveology we brought in some very delicious new ingredients. All from Greece of course. All from small artisan producers. All of excellent quality. We will have plenty more of these in this blog in the future.

For now, we will celebrate spring introducing you to our golden marinated artichokes. Tender, meaty, fresh. Marinated in extra virgin olive oil, with a golden white colour. You can savour them as they are, or enjoy them in wonderful spring salads.

Speaking of spring salads, the amazing thing when following the seasons is that one can experience all sorts of new foodstuffs. What comes with spring? Well, we will pair our artichokes with purple sprouting broccoli. This is a very interesting vegetable, that also happens to be very beautiful. Its dark green and purple stems, leaves and florets complement perfectly our artichokes.

Serves one as main or 2 as a side dish

2 large handfuls of purple sprouting broccoli florets -you can replace with broccoli or cauliflower- (approx. 1 cup)
1 large red pepper or 1 roasted red pepper
A handful of marinated artichokes (approx. 1/2 cup)
A few springs of mint, finely chopped
Red wine vinegar (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

Trim any woody broccoli stems. Slice horizontally any large florets so that all have the same size, to cook evenly. You should have both florets and stem attached together. Rinse under cold water. Boil in salted water for 3 minutes. Test and leave a few more minutes if needed. Let cool.

Roast the red pepper in the oven at 180C until tender and the skin has blackened. Once you are able to handle it, remove skin and seeds and discard. Save the juices from your baking tray. You can skip this step if you are using roaster red peppers from a jar. Slice the roasted pepper in long strips.

Mix the broccoli, artichokes and red pepper. Add the olive oil from the artichoke marinade (no waste here-it’s delicious!) and the juices from the roasting pan of the pepper, or a tablespoon of the juice from the jar. Add a few splashes of red wine vinegar, sprinkle the mint and season with salt. Enjoy!


There’s something magical about artichokes, no doubt. Visit any food market in Greece this time of the year and you’ll notice them straight away. Quite intriguing, don’t you think? Their exterior might be armour-like but their sweet, delightful hearts are irresistible. Excellent any way you approach them: steamed, grilled, roasted, sautéed; you might recall us writing love letters to them, too. This recipe is all you need to celebrate their peak season.

Ingredients for 4 persons

•12 fresh, prepared artichoke hearts (preserved in water with the juice of 2-3 lemons) or jarred/frozen
•2 carrots
•2 spring onions
•80 g red onions or shallots
•250g potatoes
•60g peas
•2 lemons
•Dill
Evoo
•Salt and pepper
•Vegetable broth (optional)

Method

Initially, chop onions and spring onions. In addition, chop carrots and potatoes in dices. In a wide pot heat the olive oil over medium heat olive oil and sauté the onions for a few minutes until soften. Alternatively, if you’re using shallots, sauté them whole in a small pan and add them in the pot towards the end.

Continue with carrots and potatoes until softened. Add vegetable broth or water. Afterwards, put in the artichoke hearts to the mix, some more broth or water. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice, cover and let simmer for 30-35 mins. Towards the end, add the peas and the shallots and boil for 10 minutes approximately. Shake the pan to distribute, instead of stirring. Check the seasonings and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

This dish can be served hot or cold. As all “ladera” dishes, they are a match in heaven with feta!


Who said meals during Lent are boring? Far from strict fasting, every year we are looking for creative and delicious ways of enjoying vegetables, legumes and fish. Pair this wonderful salad with seafood: fried or baked calamari, shrimps with garlic or classic grilled octopus. Artichoke is a stunning and intriguing vegetable; the bud of a flowering plant from the thistle family. Whether raw, steamed, grilled, roasted, or sautéed it is a delightful spring treat. Great pairings include: pea, lemon, potato, mint, pork, lamb, prosciutto, shellfish and truffle.

Serves 6

Preparation: 20 mins

Ingredients:

8 fresh, prepared artichoke hearts (preserved in water with the juice of 2-3 lemons) or jarred/ frozen
2 fennel bulbs, very thinly sliced
1 bunch of rocket (we only need the leaves) or 2 cups of green salad of your liking

For the vinaigrette

5-6 anchovies filleted, well strained
½ teacup of evoo –we recommend 18°C 
½ teacup of chopped dill
Juice and zest from 2 small lemons (preferably organic)
½ teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper

Method

Prepare the vinaigrette first by mixing all the ingredients together: anchovies, evoo, dill, juice, grated lemon, sugar and pepper in a blender and pulp them well. Afterwards, start the salad by cutting the artichokes in 4 pieces and every single piece in thin slices. Wash and dry the salad. Spread the fennel slices on a platter and drizzle the vinaigrette on top. Furthermore, add a layer of artichokes. Drizzle a bit of vinaigrette on them, as well. We could also prepare the salad in advance and cover it with cling film for 2-3 hours. When serving, add the rocket or salad and pour the remaining vinaigrette.

*Inspired by Nikolaou D. (2009, March), Lenten Feast, Gastronomos,  35.