Artichokes with orange, honey and spices

Here's a really original and unusual side dish, perfect for the end of winter or beginning of spring: the delicacy of the artichokes with their character and elegance is underlined by the vivacity of the oranges, in a wonderful combination for both stomach and eyes! It doesn’t end there, because we add to this excellent combination honey and spices - cloves and cinnamon - which match the oranges and artichokes well, giving off intoxicating aromas and perfumes. Try this recipe as an accompaniment to a second course of meat or fish, and let us know what you think. Obviously the best time to make this recipe is during March, when you have both the last of the oranges and the first artichokes. If the coupling of fruit and vegetables is off-putting, but nevertheless intrigues you, you can slightly re-balance the ingredients by reducing the quantity of oranges and increasing the artichokes. Here’s the recipe!


10 minutes Total time
15 minutes Active time
Serves 4 persons
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Clean the artichokes by removing their stems, the tough outer leaves and the tips. Prepare a bowl of water with some lemon juice added. Halve the artichokes and then cut them into quarters, remove any remaining ‘fuzzy’ choke that remains, and immerse them in the lemon water. Wash the orange thoroughly and cut it into segments, without peeling. Remove any small roots and green ends from the spring onion, wash and slice. Sauté the orange segments in a large saucepan with the butter and leeks, then remove the slices with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same saucepan, add the well-drained artichokes, spices, and a little salt and pepper. Leave the vegetables to absorb the flavours for a few minutes on high heat, then add the juice of the second orange mixed with honey. Stir, reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes, adding a little water. Shortly before the end of cooking, add the set-aside orange segments, season with salt and pepper, stir gently and serve.

When cleaning the artichokes, wear latex gloves or rub your hands with lemon juice. Just as artichokes not dipped in lemon water will tend to blacken, your hands will blacken too if you don’t take any precautions.
Apparently, the botanist Castore Durante, who lived in the sixteenth century, used a concoction made from artichoke leaves to determine whether a woman was pregnant or not. If immediately after drinking the woman in question vomited, she was indeed pregnant.

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