Artichokes are a Sephardi favorite.
In Morocco they are a staple, and I remember a variety I haven’t seen anywhere else: tiny, with pointed leaves as sharp as thorns, which we used to eat by the dozen at the end of a meal as dessert, much as the Japanese eat pickles. Another thing we find occasionally, mostly in Italian markets, are the long fuzzy artichoke stalks, called cardoons, which have an intriguing, bitter flavor and taste delicious cooked with chicken or lamb.
Preparing artichoke hearts can be a thankless task that leaves your hands streaked with black lines for hours; fortunately, frozen artichoke bottoms are easy to find and absolutely delicious, and lend themselves to numerous dishes in addition to this one (stuffings, soups, salads).
If you love artichokes like I do, stick with me!
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium size onion, chopped fine
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 good pinches saffron
- 2 pounds very thin carrots, about 16, peeled (not baby carrots)
- 11/2 pounds frozen artichoke bottoms
- ½ cup pitted green olives
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- juice and zest of 2 lemons, or less to taste
Heat the olive oil in a heavy wide bottom pot, and add the onion. Sauté until translucent.
Add the turmeric, saffron, carrots, artichokes, olives, salt and pepper and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook covered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover, add the parsley, lemon juice and zest, and cook for just a few more minutes, until the sauce is thick. Serve at room temperature, as a first course or a side dish with chicken or meat.