“In Provence stuffed vegetables are part of the repetoire in many families; they can be served hot, warm or cold. The are easily reheated. The can be served as a first course, a vegtable, a main dish or a garnish.
By arranging them in rows according to the vegetables, you can make them look extremely agreeable. Of course, it’s also quite possible to make only one sort. The most usual are tomatoes, courgettes and onions. For the best results it is advisable to see that the different vegetables are the same size. All the stuffed vegetables are both simple and inexpensive.”
Stuffed Artichoke Hearts
6 artichokes, preferably the small purplish ones, weighing about 200g each
300g leaf spinach
6 anchovy fillets preserved in olive oil
50g diced cooked ham
4 tbsp whipping cream
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring 5 litres of water to the boil with 4 tbsps coarse salt. Meanwhile, wash the artichokes and remove the stalks. When the water comes to the boil, plunge in the artichokes and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. To avoid overcooking test them after 35 minutes and again after 40 by removing one of the inner leaves. If it comes away easily, they are cooked. Refresh in cold water and put to drain, upside-down so that the water can run out.
While the artichokes are cooking, wash and pick over the spinach, wash it thoroughly in several waters and drain ina colander. Put 20g of the butter to melt in a medium sized saucepan, and when it just starts to brown throw in the well-drain spinach. Stir over a brisk heat until all the liquid is evaporated, which takes about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave it in the hot pan to keep warm. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Put the cream and egg yolk into a bowl and whisk them together thoroughly. Put half the remaining butter in a small frying-pan and melt the anchovies in it (this will take about 2 minutes) crushing them lightly with a fork. Add them to the cream in the bowl and stir. Return the pan containing the spinach to the heat and pour in the contents of the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until the cream has bound the spinach. Take the pan off the heat, add the ham, cut into tiny dice, and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the leaves and chokes of the artichokes and arrange the hearts on a gratin dish buttered with the remaining butter. Pile the spinach mixture on them, pressing with a fork.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
6 small round aubergines weighting 60g each, or 3 weighing 150g each
100g large black olives
6 anchovy fillets, preserved in olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 pinch thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pull off (do not use a knife) the green rosettes from the end of the aubergines. If you have six small aubergines, cut a thin slice, lengthways, from each. Cut round the flesh with a small knife and scoop out the pieces with a teaspoon. Take great care not to pierce the skin, which should be about half a centimeter thick. If you have three larger aubergines, cut them in half, lengthways, and remove the flesh in the same way. Arange the empty shells in an over-dish, salt them on the inside and sprinkle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Spread them flesh of the aubergines on a second over-dish.
Bake the empty skins for 15 minutes and the flesh for 30 minutes. Remove the dishes, but do not turn off the oven, which will be needed – at the same temperature – for the final cooking process.
While the aubergines are cooking, stone the olives and chop them finely. Put them in a large bowl.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small frying-pan. Add the anchovy fillets and crush them lightly with a fork. When you have a smooth puree, add it to the olives in the bowl.
When the flesh of the aubergine is cooked, crush it lightly with a fork and add to the bowl, together with the chopped garlic and thyme. Mix everything together, season with salt and pepper.
Pile the mixture into the aubergine shells, pressing it down with a fork, and heat through in a hot oven.
Stay tuned for the next #ThrowBackThursday, and another retro dish…