Artichokes With Warm Pancetta Dressing


I must confess that artichokes have got to be one of my very favorite vegetables and when I can buy them fresh I love to experiment with new recipes. On our last stay in Umbria our local street markets had tables piled up with fresh purple and green artichokes, and I have to admit that I was in artichoke heaven! This recipe was devised when I had 6 artichokes left from my latest market trip, and wanted to cook them up and serve them at room temperature with a warm dressing. Since I love warm bacon dressing you often find on spinach salads, I tried something similar to top my cooked artichokes and was very pleased with the results. If you cannot find pancetta, you could use an equal amount of chopped bacon in it’s place.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Artichokes With Warm Pancetta Dressing

A warm pancetta dressing is used to top tender artichokes in this flavorful dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Medium Fresh Artichokes
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Cup Diced Pancetta
  • 4 Ripe Plum Tomatoes
  • 2 Finely Chopped Shallots
  • 3 Tablespoons Capers
  • 3 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley

Directions:

  1. With a sharp knife cut artichoke stems flush with bottoms, and cut off and discard the tough top inch or so from artichokes.
  2. Cut in half and remove the spiny chokes, then drop the choke in a bowl of cold water with half a lemon squeezed into it while you prepare the rest.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, cover artichokes with salted water and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer artichokes, covered, until just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. While artichokes are cooking, cook the pancetta in a skillet cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes.
  6. With a slotted spoon transfer pancetta to paper towels.
  7. Halve and seed tomatoes and cut into 1/4-inch dice.
  8. Finely chop shallot and capers together.
  9. In a bowl combine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Whisk in oil in a slow stream until thickened, and then add bacon, tomatoes, shallot, and capers.
  11. Drain artichokes upside down on a rack and arrange each on a plate.
  12. Separating leaves slightly, drizzle vinaigrette between leaves and onto plates.
  13. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature.