Column: Food Glorious Food- September 2014
It may seem obvious but artichoke bottoms aren’t the same as artichoke hearts. They are rather more difficult to find, but are well worth the search and thankfully, you can use them straight from the tin.
They make perfect holders for a large variety of goodies from fresh peas to prawns. Given the choice I’d go for prawns, but only just.
Prawn stuffed Artichoke bottoms
The number of artichoke bottoms in a tin will vary depending on their size, but on average there’ll be 8.
For one tin you’ll need a tablespoon of unsalted butter, a scant tablespoon of fl our, 2 tablespoons of double cream, 2 or 3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of dry vermouth, 24 peeled, cooked prawns and a handful of Parmesan.
Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Continue stirring for a good minute, gradually adding the cream. When smooth, season with pepper, a little salt then add the vermouth and the Worcestershire sauce. Arrange the prawns on the artichoke bottoms and pour over the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
This simple and moreish recipe feeds two. You will need:
– ½ inch groundnut oil in your frying pan
– A dessertspoon of Maldon salt
– 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
– 75g cornfl our
– 200-250g baby squid cut into rings (leave the tentacles unchopped)
– A lemon
1. With a pestle and mortar grind, but don’t pulverise the salt and peppercorns.
2. In a freezer bag mix the salt, pepper and corn our, then add the squid and toss to coat well.
3. Heat the oil until very hot but not quite smoking then fry the squid in batches ( first knocking off any excess corn four) for about a minute or so till they are just crisp on the outside and still sweet and tender inside. You shouldn’t need to turn the squid as the oil will bubble up and cook it on both sides at once.
4. Take the squid out of the frying pan and let it drain on kitchen paper for a minute or so. Squeeze on the lemon juice for a nishing tang.
The Kentish Cobnut
Another September Special is The Kentish Cobnut.
Unlike most other nuts, cobnuts are sold fresh, not partially dried. Victorians considered them a delicacy to be enjoyed with an after dinner port.
It wasn’t much of a surprise to discover that the official name for cobnut pickers is nutters, but it was a surprise to find quite how popular the cobnut has become today. A surprisingly versatile nut, here are some inspirational ideas of what to do with yours.
• Wonderful with a G&T or a glass of Sancerre. *
• A great addition to dressings; mix them with vinegar
and chervil to go over warm new potatoes.
• Cauli ower and cobnut purée.
• Roasted and chopped they’re a terri c addition to a
beurre blanc sauce to accompany sh dishes.
• Kentish apple crumble heaped with roasted cobnuts is
a real local, seasonal treat.
• I shave them over roast grouse with elderberries, which
come in at the same time of year.
Go, get cracking!
*Please drink responsibly