Saturday, 30 March 2013

Miniature Masterpiece

Carciofini con Piselli, Menta & Couscous
Baby Artichokes with Mint, Peas and Couscous

My last dish of the day today, was this delicious combination of tender baby artichokes, on a bed of fluffy, minty couscous- a mix of flavors made in heaven! I always find it hard to resist picking up a handful of baby artichokes when I see them on offer- especially if they are nice and juicy looking as these were... and if you give them a go some time- I am sure you will see why!

Strange as it may sound, the combination of artichoke and peas is indeed pretty much a classic dish in Italian cuisine- and of course the logical thing to do is to serve them up with mint as the main flavoring, as it goes so well with each respectively. Add that to a simple, fluffy couscous and you have a light and delicious meal in next to no time- and a really delicious one at that!

I began by plucking away the outer leaves, until I got down to the tender, dense core of the artichokes. I then cut away the excess stalk, cut them in half gave them a good squeeze of lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown- then sprinkled them lightly with salt and pepper and steamed them for 15-20 minutes until tender. 

In the meantime, I fried a handful of frozen peas, together with a little finely chopped garlic and onion, in just a little olive oil. I seasoned them with nutmeg, pepper and salt and once they were thawed and the onion and garlic were nice and translucent, added enough vegetable broth to cover them and a handful of couscous to soak up the broth and all of the flavors that had accumulated during frying. I stirred the couscous and let it cook for 1-2 minutes, then turned of the heat and let it sit until the artichokes were ready. 

Once the artichokes were tender, I served them up on the couscous and peas and sprinkled everything generously with finely chopped parsley and mint and just a tiny bit more olive oil and lemon juice... and dinner was served! There- I told you it was going to be easy... and delicious too!

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