At least you’ll never be a vegetable – even artichokes have hearts.
– Amélie Poulain in the film Amélie
Even though I have long ago adored eating artichokes, it has been only recently that I’ve began an artichoke cooking obsession. The reason being will be revealed in my next artichoke post. Watch this space.
For now, I wanted to write about a true artichoke tale.
When I lived in England, I was living in a shared house with some friends. There were three and a half Spanish people there including myself. The half is me. There was also the odd Italian, but her character wasn’t required in this story.
We had some friendly neighbours next door who were from New Zealand. Our New Zealand neighbours one day went for a trip to France, where they discovered artichokes. I guess it was love at first bite. Such was the love that they decided they would go back to New Zealand to begin an artichoke plantation there. They began to go to France and Spain to artichoke festivals and conferences. One day they came back from Spain with a video about planting artichokes. In Spanish. Could we please translate it into English?
My friends and I answered that yes indeed. The three and a half Spanish people that we were sat in their living room with pens and paper. They left to go shopping. We put on the video. The farmer in the video was from the region of Galicia. We couldn’t understand his strong accent. The video (as we could guess by the images) was about irrigation methods for artichoke plantations. It was so agriculturally technical that we didn’t understand a word.
Two and a half hours later our neighbours came back. We had not written a word. We just didn’t understand anything. Yeah, it was pretty embarrassing. Total failure.
This artichoke with Serrano ham and Parmesan cheese recipe is really quick and easy to make.
1 clove garlic
I didn’t write quantities because I would put one artichoke and a small handful of Serrano ham per person, then as much Parmesan cheese as desired.
Boil some pasta in a big pot.
Meanwhile, wash the artichokes. Remove the outer leaves and the stem. Cut into smallish pieces. Peel and cut the garlic. Cut the Serrano ham into pieces.
In a large saucepan, heat a few drops of olive oil. Cook the artichokes for about 4 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic. Continue cooking until the garlic is more or less cooked. Add the Serrano ham. Cook for another couple of minutes. You may not need to add any salt because Serrano ham is very salty.
Drain the pasta when it has become al dente. Add the pasta into the saucepan with the artichoke and Serrano ham. Mix and cook on low heat for about one minute.
Serve into plates. Add some chunks of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle black pepper on top.
Enjoy your meal!