Sunday, June 12, 2011

Monday Bites - My Mezze

A couple of weeks ago, to celebrate the arrival of summer I made a big plate of mezze for lunch.  Nothing special - but based around homemade hommous.  There are as many ways to make hommous as there are to spell it, aren't there?  These days, since I haven't found the tahini in the back of the cupboard we are making it with lots of lemon, mint, garlic and parsley, much cumin, olive oil of course and a dollop of Trader Joe's French Village Cream Line yogurt (no wonder I can't lose weight).  I also had made a big bowl of cauliflower.  It's a variation

on Cavolfiore Affogato but mine is so simple, I parboil the cut up flower-ettes to just before it's al dente, then drain it well-but-fast, bash it into a deep bowl, pour a garlicky-lemon vinaigrette over, and slam a plate on top.   It steams in the vinaigrette and comes out toothy-perfumey and just generally YUM!

But my masterwork of the weekend was ....... grilled baby artichokes with garlic and mint.  We used to be able to buy this in jars at Sainsbury's or Waitrose in London.  They were TERRIBLY expensive.   I don't understand why you can't buy them in the States and they have disappeared from Sainsbury's.  Waitrose's current version is without the mint and it's just not as good.

So obviously, I had to make some and FORTHWITH (how lucky are you?):  

1) Peel about a pound of small or large artichokes well (this Chinese person hates to waste all those leaves, but face it, they will be tough and stringy so keep peeling!)  till you have tender-not-quite-hearts centers.  Depending on the size, halve or quarter them lengthwise to get them into manageable chunks that will sit happily at the end of a fork. Rub the cut sides with lemon juice to keep them from discoloring while you cut them ALL up.

2) Toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper and/or red pepper flakes (not too many) if you want to live large, then roast them in a pan in the oven at 375-400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they are fork tender but FIRM and NOT SOGGY.

3) Remove them from the oven and mince a small handful of fresh mint,  and 3-5 cloves of garlic lightly crushed and sliced lengthwise.  When the artichokes are no longer hot-hot, taste one (it should be crunchy but tender) for salt and pepper.  If they need more, add.  Then tip the artichokes into a deep bowl with the garlic, mint and enough grape seed or canola oil to come half way up.  Toss everything a couple times then cover with foil and weight down with something heavy but sealed that won't leak on them.  Refrigerate overnight.  You could toss them and re-cover them from time to time but I would wait at least overnight to eat them.  We had enough for two days for two people.  The morning after the second night they were even better.  In fact keeping them two nights before eating is ideal.

4) Plate them up with other good yummy things - as you would like...........

Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.  No?  


  1. Oh I love that! Just my kind of food! Have a happy week!

  2. Oh I just had to come to your blog when I was hungry - now you've made my stomach growl! I want all of it, and wish you were here to make it for me because I'm a lazy girl tonight!!!

    Happy Monday evening xo!

  3. well clever one.. you can come over here and throw pots and pans around my kitchen anytime your like to make mezze that looks like this!
    S xo