Creamy Cauliflower Florets with Saffron, Fleur de Sel and Pan Fried Baby Artichokes
There is undeniably something very magical about an artichoke. Be it its shape, texture, color: there is something so alluring, calling us from a veggie stall in the market or a shop shelf. It is sensual, mystical – a little dragon-like – and undeniably delicious and satisfying. It is one of these creme de la creme foods that is definitely worth time, but not many of us dare to even begin playing with it.
Artichokes are flower buds from a thistle family (the one with spikes!:) and are incredibly rich in antioxidants and all sorts of other amazing phytonutrients. But you don’t want to start eating something just because it has a brilliant nutritional resume. There’s got to be more than that. And that alluring magic, seduction, and incredible flavour artichokes definitely have.
This week we are exploring an AMAZING plant-based recipe full of flowers (cauliflower, artichoke, and saffron) and take this trio to another dimension. The final flavour is incredibly flowery, gentle, and a little mind-blowing. All the ingredients used in the recipe are in season RIGHT NOW (July).
This recipe is gently cooked. You can eat artichokes raw (we are experimenting with a few raw artichoke recipes at the moment), but note that raw artichokes will require even more care when processing and plenty of time to marinate in order to soften. We will be serving raw, marinated artichokes in Wild & Raw: Full Moon Feast on the 11th of July. Register for this delight here.
Now onto the recipe:
Creamy Cauliflower Florets with Saffron, Fleur de Sel, and Pan Fried Baby Artichokes
3-4 baby artichokes
1 small head of cauliflower
1/2 bunch of spring onions
1/2 tin of organic coconut milk
2 TBLS of virgin coconut oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 big lemon
handful of coriander
1 tsp fennel seeds
6-8 strands of saffron
1 tsp fleur de sel
freshly ground pepper to taste
First, peel and chop garlic and spring onions. Preheat a pan with 1 TBLS of coconut oil and saute the garlic and onions for a few minutes. Turn the heat on low and add finely chopped carrots and fennel seeds with 1/2 tsp of salt. Leave it on low heat for 10-15 minutes to sweat and release flavour.
In the meantime prepare your artichokes. Use a ceramic knife if possible, because artichokes oxidize and brown really quickly. Using ceramic tools is gentler on this very delicate ingredient. Prepare a big bowl of water with 1/2 lemon juice squeezed in it and the same half of the lemon floating in. That’s where you are going to keep your artichokes to prevent browning.
Cut 1/3 of the top off, pluck the outer leaves till you reach softer and brighter layer, shave the stem, and cut off any hard bits. Cut artichoke in half and scoop out the inner ‘fluff’, also called the ‘choke’, using a teaspoon. Repeat the same with the rest of your artichokes and leave them soaking in lemon water.
While your artichoke is bathing in lemon water, prepare your cauliflower. You can use your hands or a ceramic knife to divide the cauliflower head into individual, small size florets. Add them to the saucepan with carrots and spring onions. Add coconut milk, the other half of lemon juice, ground pepper, and saffron. Let it gently simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, then add chopped coriander leaves, ground black pepper, turn the heat off and let it sit for a while.
To pan-fry the artichokes, preheat a heavy-bottomed pan, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and fry for 5-7 minutes gently flipping each piece. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Now we would like to hear from you: What is YOUR favourite way of preparing artichoke? Leave a comment below 🙂
With Celebration & Appreciation,
Aiste, Joel & the Wild Team xoxo