This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs our theme is Veggie Variations - our mission to choose any one of Diana Henry's meat-free, veggie filled dishes, of which I can tell you she has many. I've had her Sicilian Artichoke & Broad Bean Salad with Saffron Dressing recipe, from A Change of Appetite, bookmarked for ages and, since artichokes and broad beans are two of my favourite vegetables, this seemed like the perfect time to make it.
The fact that this "veggieccentric" meal (though I did sneak in some anchovies) is also a salad, that salad of any description just happens to be my favourite meal of any kind, that it offered a riot of colour on a grey and gloomy day, and that it delivered a sublime combination of flavours and textures (which is always the benchmark of a great dish for me), meant that this dish ticked every conceivable box for me.
In fact, I love salad so much that I've decided that I am going to make a different salad (and I'll try to post as many of them as I can) every day for the whole month of February - that's 28 days of salad. I'm pretty excited about that, and because there can never be too many salads, I'm also giving you the opportunity to share some salads of your own. I'll be posting more details tomorrow and I'll also be putting up a linky which will stay open for the whole month, so if you have a salad that you'd like to share (on any day or every day) feel free to join in.
Now back to the salad at hand. This was everything I dreamed it was going to be. The saffron plays a lovely earthy background note to the sweetness of the honey and orange in the dressing, and its flavour infuses the artichokes beautifully. The textures of the artichoke and broad beans, provide a great base to the little flavour explosions that come from the oranges and raisins, chilli, capers and anchovies. No two mouthfuls are the same. The orange was my own addition to things here, as were the capers and anchovies, but they are the very first things that come to mind when I think of Sicily so in they went. I left out mint and pine nuts because I didn't have them on hand, and honestly I didn't miss them, but all manner of herbs and nuts would be great add-ins.
I ate the whole thing on my own as a substantial meal, though you could probably stretch it to feed a couple of people for a lighter meal such as lunch. Of course, this would also be great as an accompaniment to a larger meal, especially something that would sit comfortably with big bold flavours; personally, I found it didn't need anything more than a good pinot noir.
Sicilian Artichoke & Broad Bean Salad with Saffron Dressing Recipe
Adapted from recipe by Diana Henry
from A Change of Appetite
Serves 1 as a substantial main meal or
Serves 2 as a light lunch or
Serves 4 as an accompaniment to a larger meal
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
generous pinch of saffron stamens
1 teaspoon runny honey
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of half an orange
generous handful of raisins
1 cup frozen broad beans
6x large artichoke hearts, bottled or canned
1x garlic clove, roughly chopped
1x green chilli, finely sliced, deseeded if you prefer
generous handful of capers
6x anchovies, roughly chopped
zest and segments of fruit from the other half of the orange
Put lemon juice, red wine vinegar and saffron threads into a very small saucepan, and heat gently until the saffron begins to release its colour and fragrance. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Pour into a small jug and whisk in the honey, salt, pepper, orange juice and zest, then whisking constantly slowly drizzle in the extra virgin oil until you reach a nicely emulsified dressing consistency. Taste and adjust to your liking. This should have a good balance of sweet and savoury.
Cut artichoke hearts into quarters, place them in a bowl and pour over the dressing. Set aside for at least an hour if you can manage it for the flavours to infuse.
Put raisins in a small bowl, and cover with boiling water. Set aside for about 30 minutes until the raisins have plumped up.
Put frozen broad beans into another small bowl, and cover them too with boiling water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, drain, then remove and discard the tough greyish skins.
Heat a slosh of olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chilli, and capers to the pan, and saute until fragrant and the capers are slightly crispy.
Arrange artichoke hearts on a serving platter. Scatter around the broad beans, raisins, orange segments and anchovies. Sprinkle over the sauteed garlic, chilli and capers. Drizzle liberally with the dressing from the artichokes, and finish with a final sprinkling of grated orange zest.
If you would like to get to know Diana Henry a little better, and to see what everyone else has cooked up this week, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links (who knows, you might even want to join the journey and cook along with us) ...
... or check out A Change of Appetite and Diana's many other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, or Fishpond NZ.
I'm also sharing this at Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays, hosted by my very lovely friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, and at Weekend Cooking, hosted by the lovely Beth at Beth Fish Reads.