Friday, 11 July 2014

I... I Who Have Nothing!

Patate, Carciofi, Piselli, Pomodori Secchi & Erbe Aromatiche
Potatoes, Artichokes, Peas, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Aromatic Herbs 

So it is finally my last night at home before I leave on vacation... And I have done such a brilliant job of emptying my fridge, that there is really nothing left in it that is fresh apart from a few potatoes and shallots!

Which means... It's time to pop open a jar or delve into the freezer! And what have we there? Some artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and the last few frozen peas. Hmmm... Sounds like supper to me!

Actually, this is a very typical and traditional Italian combination, and understandably very well loved as it is so incredibly delicious! These flavors were simply meant for each other!

So, what went into the frying pan? 3 small to medium sized potatoes, 1 shallot, 6 artichoke hearts, about 1 cupful of frozen peas, 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes and plenty of mint, marjoram and parsley... The most important of which is definitely the mint in this dish.

One other great thing about this dish is that it can be served hot or cold, making it a great alternative to those boring old potato salads... Know what I'm saying? 

My potatoes were small, so I cut them into nice chunky rounds, but the shape doesn't matter, what does matter is that you boil them for around 10 minutes, with around a teaspoon of fennel seeds whilst you prepare the other ingredients!

The shallot can be nicely, thinly sliced and the sun-dried tomato into similar sized strips.

Whilst the potatoes boil, without salt in this case, fry the halved artichoke hearts in just a little olive oil until they turn a nice golden brown. I prefer to use the kind that are bottled in brine rather than those in oil, but I shall leave that up to you to decide... Obviously if they are already in oil you will need no extra!

Once the artichokes are done, set them to one side and put all of the other ingredients into your pan, along with plants of freshly grated nutmeg and a grind of pepper... Still no salt! The reason being, that the sun-dried tomatoes will have almost enough seasoning of their own for the whole dish... Trust me on this! The thing is, there is no way of knowing just how salty they are until the dish is done and you taste the potatoes... So be patient, as you can always add more salt at the end! But the sweetness of the potatoes and the peas against the salty tomatoes are what make the dish so delicious! You'll see!

Stir- fry everything together for 3-4 minutes until it begins to brown and then deglaze the pan with enough water to cover the base. Sprinkle generously with the finely chopped herbs, pop on the lid and let it boil away for another 2-3 minutes, then remove the lid and add a last drizzle of olive oil and the artichoke hearts and continue to fry until all of the water has evaporated away and things begin to turn golden brown again... And you are ready to serve!

The great thing about adding that splash of water and letting everything steam for a while is that it really gets all of those great flavor right into the potatoes... The herbs, the tomatoes and the onion, all go to season the dish wonderfully... And not to forget the tender little artichokes! So divine

I would call that a rather awesome "last supper", wouldn't you? Except it won't be that's time you make it... Because you will love it! Hopefully as much as I did!

Just beautiful food! And delicious! And that's all!

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