In this month’s newsletter for DaisyMartinez.com, I offer an exclusive recipe that is our own Ode to Spring. It is a poached artichoke heart that is stuffed with a ragu of morels, bacon, shallots, peas and cream and it will serve as our first course for our Spring holiday dinner. The complete recipe with amounts and such is on the site as the April homepage, so stop by a take a look.
We’re going to start out with the ingredients: artichokes, slab bacon, morels (I’ve used dry here, but definately use fresh if you have them available…just omit the soaking step), shallots, peas, cognac, heavy cream and fresh parsley.
Render the diced bacon in a bit of water to render the fat. Start at high heat until it boils, then lower the heat to low, to manage the browning until golden.
Add boiling water to the dry morels and soak for about 20-30 minutes, until softened. In the meantime, soften the diced shallots in the rendered fat.
Trim the artichokes with a sharp knife and scoop ot the choke with a spoon. Rub the cut surfaces with a cut lemon to avoid discoloration. Add the trimmed artichokes to a pot of salted boiling water to which you’ve added the juice of one lemon and cook at medium high heat 35-45 minutes, or until artichoke hearts are completely softened, but not falling apart.
Drain the morels and dice them. Add the diced morels to the shallots in the skillet, and return the bacon the skillet as well.
Add the cognac to the pan. Turn the flame on to high, tilt the pan and flambe, being careful there is nothing on the stove that can catch fire. You may also want to hold the handle of the skillet with an oven mitt to protect your hand.
Once the flames have dies down, lower the heat and add the cream, reducing until nappant.
Dress the artichoke hearts with extra virgen olive oil and spoon the filling into the “well” you created when you scooped out the choke. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, and prepare to celebrate Spring!