If you’re not familiar with this veggie, it may look alien or inedible to you. But the artichoke has a special place in Turkish cuisine, especially in the western province of Izmir – to be precise the Urla district, where the vegetable is celebrated with a three-day festival!
I am aware that artichokes are more of a spring vegetable but there are still plenty around at this time of year.
Turks love their dolma in all shapes and forms. Dolma is a staple in Turkish kitchens and means stuffed or filled, usually referring to a vegetable but can also be done with fruit or even meat. This Izmir specialty is the first dish that comes to mind when on the topic of artichokes.
- 8 artichokes
- 100 milliliters olive oil + 2 tablespoons
- 1 onion
- 1 potato
- 1-2 carrots
- 100 grams peas
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 200 milliliters water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
Clean the artichokes and let them sit in lemon juice to prevent them from darkening. Boil your potato and carrots until they have softened and cut them into small cubes. Chop the onions and saute them in 100 ml olive oil until they start to soften. Add the cubed potatoes and carrots to the onions and cook them together for 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the peas and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and set the filling aside.
Fish the artichokes out of the lemon juice and place them in a wide pot of your choice. Now it is time to stuff the artichokes with the filling. Next, add the water to the lemon juice, salt, sugar and two tablespoons of olive oil and mix thoroughly. Pour this lemony mixture into the pot and cook the artichokes until they have softened. Let the dish cool and serve cold.
Many like to serve these with chopped dill and I must say I agree with them.
If you have a few too many artichokes on your hands and are looking to attempt a new starter, you can give this one a shot!
- 1 kg whole artichokes
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1.2 liters water
- Salt, to taste
Clean off the artichokes and cut them into small cubes, then cook them in about 400 ml of water until softened. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a separate pot, add the flour and cook until the color changes. Add the remaining water to the flour and whisk it until smooth. If there are persistent lumps, it happens to me all the time, you can use a blender. Add the softened artichokes with their cooking water to the flour base and simmer until the soup thickens. Salt to your taste and serve.
Artichoke yogurt snacks
We’ve done a main dish, a starter and now it is time for a little snack – although I would happily eat this as a summer salad! The refreshing nature of yogurt makes this the perfect, satisfying dish for those hot summer months.
- 4 artichokes
- 400 milliliters water
- Half a lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bundle purslane
- 300 milliliters yogurt
Boil the artichokes in water and lemon juice until they soften. While they are cooking, clean the purslane and mix it with the yogurt. Once the artichokes are done, remove them from the pot and fill them with the purslane-yogurt mix. Drizzle the olive oil over the small bowls of artichokes and serve.
Now, this recipe is beyond simple but it can be elevated as far as you’re willing to go. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes, for example, adds a kick. Having different textures can add another dimension, I recommend adding crushed walnuts to the purslane salad or just having them on top of the whole dish. Using a thicker yogurt, like süzme or Greek yogurt as it is known to some, helps keep the dish combined but regular yogurt works just fine if you’re out of stock.