River Café inspired artichoke salad with shards of boiled lemon

This artichoke salad recipe is very loosely based on a River Café concept, further developed by Jamie Oliver (who discovered it while working as a sous-chef – I think the cashews are his idea), and then further simplified and changed by Saucy Dressings.

The most intriguing thing about it is the idea of boiling the lemon – a technique which fascinated and impressed the Chief Taster. It doesn’t just soften the rind, it also takes out a lot of the sourness. I considered using a preserved lemon instead, it would work, but not as well.

This salad is brilliant with freshly made flatbreads, and prosciutto or burrata.

Recipe for River Café inspired artichoke salad with shards of boiled lemon

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 180g/6 oz bag of salad leaves
  • 240-280g/9 oz jar of roasted artichoke hearts in oil (net weight)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 6 tbsps of oil (from the artichoke jar)
  • about ten sprigs of thyme
  • 4 tbsps runny honey – the bitterer the better
  • 25g/¼ cup shelled, chopped pistachios
  • salt and pepper (or Urfa pepper flakes)

Method

  1. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, and simmer the lemon in it for half an hour. Take out and leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile peel the garlic cloves and put them, together with a tsp of salt into a pestle and mortar. Add in the leaves of about two-thirds of the thyme. Grind. Add pepper (or pepper flakes). Cut the lemon in half lengthways, and squeeze in the juice (minus any pips). Keep the lemon. Add the oil. Add the honey to complete the dressing.
  3. Empty the salad leaves onto a serving platter. Top with the artichoke hearts. Peel the pith and flesh out of one of the lemon halves – it should come out quite easily. Cut the remaining soft peel in half. Take one of these halves (a quarter of the whole lemon rind), and cut into shards. Throw away everything else.
  4. Stir the dressing and pour it over the salad. Scatter over the remaining thyme leaves and the pistachios.
  5. Serve with the flatbreads, and some prosciutto or burrata.

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