Most of you are already familiar with my obsession with artichokes and their truly exorbitant price in the UK. But this is my new discovery: frozen artichokes fom the French company Picard. In the UK they are only sold by Ocado (Asda, you are meant to have the lead on frozen veggies, what happened?) and they do not come cheap: £7.99 for a Kg, even though you can buy exactly the same product for £6.17 if you cross the Channel tunnel (or less if the pound was not underperforming due Brexit). But put it in context: at Sainsbury's you get three small artichoke slices (250g) for £1.90. And at Waitrose you pay £2 just for an artichoke! You can feed 8-9 for starters with just a packet of frozen artichokes. And the wonderful thing is that is it just the really good bit of the artichokes, the 'creme de la creme', the 'fond d'artichaut': no leaves, no waste...and of course good bye to those black nails when you clean the artichokes to get just the cores - simply open the bag and that is all.
For this you need:
- a packet of frozen artichokes (put them in hot water for two minutes and then cut them in slices)
- 200 g of cubed serrano ham ( if you are lucky enough to leave in london near a Casa Manolo you can buy this already pre-cut)
- 1.5 gloves of garlic
- two tablespoons of wine vinegar (I add 2.5 because I am addicted to vinegar)
- three tablespoons of olive oil
- and half glass of water
- salt (not much as the ham is naturally salted)
Heat the oil in a shallow pan ( I use a paella pan). Add the ham and the artichokes and wait for 5 minutes or until the edges of the artichokes get golden. Add the salt. Grate the garlic and add it to the artichokes (tossing them well so that the garlic does not get burnt). Add the water, sprinkle it all with the vinegar, wait for 2-3 more minutes and done.