Sunday, April 7, 2013

Artichoke-Potato Salad with Toasted Brown Mustard Seeds

Confession: in all my years of cooking, I've never prepared a fresh artichoke. It always just seemed intimidating, they look intimidating, you hear about the strange fuzzy thistle on the inside that needs to be removed... With artichoke hearts readily available in a can, I always figured, why bother?

Today, I decided it was time to face down my fears.

  • 3 artichokes (about 12 ounces each)
  • 12 ounces small red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup light vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 minced garlic clove
1. Okay, so here are your artichokes to start:

2. Cut the stems off the artichokes, and remove the bottom leaves - I assumed this meant the outermost layer of leaves closest to the stem. Trim 1/2-inch off the top of the artichokes. My intimidating artichokes now look like this:

3. Place the artichokes, stem ends down, in a Dutch oven filled two-thirds with water.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes - you can tell the artichokes are done if a leaf near the center of each pulls out easily.

4. Drain, rinse with cold water, and let cool.  Now remove the bottom leaves and "tough outer leaves," and you'll be left with the hearts and bottoms.  Discard the leaves or save for another use.

5. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise, and remove that fuzzy thistle with a spoon - it will come out quite easily. Chop the artichoke hearts and bottoms and place in a large bowl.

6. Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water, and let cool.  Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices and add to the artichokes, along with the thawed green peas.

7. Place the mustard seeds in a small skillet and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, until toasted.

8. Combine the mustard seeds in a bowl with the mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and garlic.  Whisk well to combine, and pour over the artichoke mixture, tossing to coat.  Cover and chill.

Since you can make this salad ahead of time, it's another perfect dish for a spring picnic, just like my Herb-Marinated Mozzarella Wraps. Try pairing this artichoke salad with vegan deli chicken slices (such as Yves Veggie), blueberries, and French bread baguette. 

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 cup), Calories 166

Tasting Notes:
I am glad I conquered my fears, because I had no idea fresh artichokes could be so wonderfully meaty, not to mention devoid of the salt and brine that clings to the canned variety. But honestly, it was the dill that stole the show in this salad, just absolutely exquisite in every bite. Add to that the warm toasted mustard seeds and the yummy peas and potatoes, and this recipe puts other potato salads to shame.


There are a few ways you can make this salad even simpler, without sacrificing much in the way of taste. First, simply use 1 teaspoon dried dill instead of fresh in the dressing:

Then, use whole-grain mustard instead of the mustard seeds, eliminating the need to toast them (simply skip step #7 above, and use 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard in place of 2 tablespoons Dijon):

Finally, substitute 1 cup chopped canned artichoke hearts and bottoms in place of the fresh, meaning you can skip steps # 1-5 above).

The salad will be much quicker to pull together, but honesty the difference in taste is minimal, with the exception that the canned artichokes don't taste as fresh or meaty.

1 comment:

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