Elisabeth's Alcachofas Granadinas
This traditional dish from Granada, last stronghold of the Moors in Spain, is prepared at the beginning of the season, when both artichokes and beans are still young and tender, while the inclusion of mint gives it a distinctly North African flavour. Artichokes have flourished in the sandy soil of the vega, Granada’s fertile floodplain, since Roman times, though it was the Moors, architects of the beautiful gardens of the Alhambra, who installed the irrigation channels still in use today.
If you can find very young broad beans in pod, use them whole chopped into short lengths. The dish is usually served with an olive oil dressing and is complemented well by our fruity and sweet Gomeoliva extra virgin olive oil.
8 small artichokes (preferably with stalks)
1 half lemon
500g broad beans
6 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, diced small
1 heaped tablespoon diced serrano ham
Handful fresh mint-leaves
2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
First prepare the artichokes. Trim, removing the hard tips of the outer leaves and leaving a generous length of stalk. Slice into quarters and nick out the hairy little choke. Check over the beans and if they look a little leathery side, slip them out of their skins.
Warm 4 tablespoons of the oil in a roomy pan or casserole, and add the onion, garlic and quartered artichokes. Season with a little salt and fry gently for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the vegetables soften and gild a little. Add the prepared beans and a generous glass of water and bubble up. Add the ham, saffron, bayleaf and half the mint, roughly chopped. Bubble up, turn down the heat, lid loosely and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are perfectly tender and most of the juices have been absorbed - you may need to add a little more water. Or bake in a moderate oven at 325F/170C/Gas3 for 40-50 minutes.
When you’re ready to serve, fry the breadcrumbs and almonds with the cumin in the remaining oil until lightly gilded, and sprinkle over the artichokes and beans. Finish with the remaining mint-leaves.