When we were young, we used to spend our summer vacations in beautiful Brittany. Our parents would pack the car (and its roof luggage rack) until there was no millimeter left of extra space, put the three of us on the rear bench seats, the dog, a large “Bouvier des Flandres” in the back and off we went for a 13 hours trip to spend the next four weeks in a small village called “Kerascoët”. I can still smell the salty sea breeze and remember many mornings at the busy fish market in Concarneau, where my parents would buy freshly caught lobster or other fish to prepare the same day. Already then my parents made sure to teach us kids a responsible handling of food and the importance of fine quality. But mostly they taught us the fun of cooking! Sitting in the French sun on the steps of a thatched cottage, shelling fresh beans, isn’t the worst thing to do, right? (Even for a young girl!).
The artichoke recipe is one of the many culinary moments I remember from our France vacations. As many kids, I was a poor vegetable eater, however sucking the soft pulp out of the artichoke leaves was fun and really good at the same time! It’s a nice starter for a light summer menu, and when the leaves fall apart on the plate it also looks really impressive to your guests. Once you have finished sucking the leaves, you can remove the hay and enjoy what people call “the best of the artichoke”: the heart! Of course the basil mayonnaise is only one of many options for a dip to serve. Traditionally you can also try a vinaigrette or maybe a garlic mayonnaise?
Don’t forget to rub the artichokes with lemon, once you’ve broken off the stem and cut off the leaves. It turns brown really quickly and wouldn’t look so appetizing anymore.
- For the artichokes
- 1 organic lemon
- 2 big artichokes
- 2 tbs sea salt
- For the mayonnaise
- egg yolk (room temperature)
- ½ tsp vinegar
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- tsp lemon juice
- bunch of fresh basil
- Was the lemon and cut in slices
- Wash the artichokes and break off the stem. (Sometimes it's easier to break it off on the table border))
- If necessary, cut off the ugly top of the artichoke leaves and immediately rub with lemon to avoid the oxidation
- You can bind the a lemon slice on top and on the bottom of the fruits or simply add some lemon slices into the water.
- Put the artichokes in a big pot with water and bring to boil. Cook for about 25 minutes until they are soft.
- In the meantime prepare the mayonnaise. Mix the egg yolk and the vinegar well
- Slowly pour the oil while constantly mixing with a blender or a fork. Start with only adding a few drops then let the oil carefully stream in. Add the chopped basil leaves. The egg will start emulsifying and the mayonnaise is ready when it is stiff enough to separate from the edge of the container.
- Season with the mustard, salt, pepper and lemon juice.