A sauce for artichokes

As I write this it is artichoke season in Italy and the Mercato Centrale in Florence offers a bewildering number of varieties. Should we choose the carciofi Romani from Sicily, tightly budded globes the size of an orange, only edible after long slow cooking? Or the thorny purple petaled Morellino artichokes from the Tuscan wildlands of Maremma, teardrop shaped and tender enough to eat raw?

 

In the end we bought Morellini, removed their tough outer leaves, cut off their spiny tops and boiled them for about 20 minutes in salted water with half a lemon. You can also add the stalks, but peel off the tough fibrous skins first, once softened they are equally delicious. Cover all the cut parts with lemon juice while you work to stop them going black.

 

Here is a lovely dipping sauce for the petals, hearts and stalks. 

 

Ingredients
 

1 hard boiled egg

1 tin anchovy fillets

a large bunch of parsley, chives, fennel and tarragon

150ml extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

125ml natural Greek yoghurt

grated zest from ½ lemon

juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and pepper

 

What to do
 

Grate the zest from half of the whole lemon and then cut in half and juice all of it. Purée all the ingredients in a food processor until you have a sauce with the consistency of thin mayonnaise. Adjust the olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper to taste.