A spring salad that's a snap to make.
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
15 large artichokes
10 slices bacon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1. Prepare a blanc to keep artichokes white: place the flour in a large pot, and beat in just enough cold water to make a smooth, medium-thick paste. Then beat in 2 quarts of cold water, the lemon juice, and the salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Remove hearts from artichokes.
3. Add the artichoke hearts to the blanc, bring to a boil, then simmer gently until the hearts are just tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow the hearts to come to room temperature in the liquid.
4. Gently fry the bacon slices. (Do not cook until crisp.) Remove, and reserve on paper towels.
5. Place the mustard in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, beat in the vinegar. Drop by drop at first, then in a thin stream, beat in the olive oil; the mixture should be medium-thick. Add the garlic, and season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Remove warm artichoke hearts from liquid. Using a combination of spoon and sharp knife, remove the fuzzy choke from the center of each one. Discard. Cut the remaining hearts in sixths. Place in large mixing bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Cut each bacon slice into 6 pieces, and add to bowl. Toss with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Once you master the knack of extracting the heart of an artichoke—it's really easy—this impressive salad is a snap to make. Serves 8 as a first course