Artichokes - Clittary Hilton
Apr. 30th, 2005
05:31 pm - Artichokes
Перевод на русский язык (с примечаниями) тут: Артишоки
You boil artichokes for about 15 min in lightly salted water.
The sauce needs the following ingredients:
I. A jar of pickled cucumbers (dill variety, half-sours very good);Having secured the ingredients, proceed with the preparation. It comprises seven basic steps:
II. Mayonnaise (the great invention of the duke de Richelieu, otherwise known as the "cardinal");
III. Garlic. Vrais ail, not the pre-chopped supermarket stuff, one of the main sources of anti-americanism in Europe;
IV. Fresh dill (can under duress be replaced by parsley).
1. Using a spoon, ladle some mayonnaise into a receptacle where you are going to mix things;Taste the sauce as you make it; it is supposed to be finger-licking good and you just lick the tips of your fingers. Do not overtaste before your guests arrive and if you do, greet them with a military salute, never lowering yourself to kisses and other intimacies. The guests have not yet been initiated and may not appreciate your best intentions. Save all that for after the meal!
2. Pour some of the liquid from the jar of pickled cucumbers into said receptacle;
3. Stir a little using a fork; the balance between the amount of mayonnaise and the amount of the liquid from the jar of pickled cucumbers will determine the consistency of the sauce; it should not be too liquid and if it is, add mayonnaise;
4. Chop garlic into small pieces, or if you find a special contraption, squeeze garlic into pulp; there is absolutely no way that you can overdo with garlic, the more the better! Be lavish with the garlic and remember all your guests will smell the same and for the next 24 hours after the meal they will remain attractive only to the esoteric group that had been invited to your table; all other people will be kept at bay;
5. The chopped garlic (or the squeezed garlic pulp) goes directly into the aforementioned receptacle and waits for the arrival of the dill, to be stirred together;
6. Chop dill (or parsley, if such is your fate). To do this most efficiently you wash the dill. On the one hand, this will satisfy your grandmother's admonishment to always wash vegetables, on the other hand, wet dill can be nicely pressed into a bundle and then chopped with surgical precision, using a sharp knife. You cannot really overdo with the dill either. Never spare the dill;
7. Thoroughly stir everything in the receptacle (have I mentioned the receptacle?) by using a fork and patience. The homogeneity is very important. People do not like clumps in their sauce even when these clumps taste delicious.
There are demented people who cut away the artichoke scales... this is a grave mistake!
The scales have flesh at the base, right where they attach to the rosette. It is this soft flesh that you dip in my sauce, then pull off with the teeth and eat. If you have several guests, each of them must be provided with his own artichoke on a dish and an individual saucer with the dip. As the guest browses his artichoke, the sauce is subject to praise. Big tureen in the middle of the table shelters the discarded scales.
Now listen carefully. As you pluck away the scales, they become progressively softer and their initially sparse edible fraction rises steadily percentagewise like the production of pig iron under socialism. When all scales are removed, you have arrived at the climax.
By the way, you had surely truncated the stem before cooking the artichoke... not aflush, of course, but leaving about half an inch. Circumcision of the artichoke is not a serious procedure and requires no minyan; if you had let it slip at the time, do it now!
Now the artichoke stands all scales removed on its truncated stem, its thistle top fastigiate. This strobilaceous top is not edible and must be removed with a spoon (or with a special paring knife that your faineant butler may have neglected to serve). The artichoke heart (the part left after the thistle is cut away) tastes delicious and should be eaten with knife and fork. In a well-cooked artichoke, the thistle easily separates from the heart, leaving a smooth epithelial surface.
Practice before you invite your guests. First-time artichoke eater would be wise to seek guidance. Do you have a French companion in the vicinity?