About this recipe:Baby artichokes are sautéed with figs, saffron and Marcona almonds, which hail from south-eastern Spain. Serve this unique dish at a tapas party and garnish with sliced olives and a few saffron strands.
200g dried figs
225ml boiling water
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
120ml olive oil
2kg baby artichokes, halved and chokes removed
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
70g Spanish Marcona almonds
60ml white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
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Place figs in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Allow the figs to plump for 5 minutes, then remove. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of saffron threads into the remaining liquid, and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add artichokes, and toss until coated with oil. Pour in saffron water and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the artichokes are tender, about 8 minutes.
Uncover the artichokes and increase heat to medium-high. Add the figs, almonds, vinegar and paprika. Cook and stir until all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat, recover, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
To clean an artichoke...
Baby artichokes are easier to clean than the full-grown variety, but still take a bit of effort. With a paring knife, cut a bit of the stem off and then start snapping off the leaves one by one. When you've reached the centre, or 'heart', cut off any leaves at the top along with any fuzzy hairs in the centre. Carefully cut away any of the dark green leftover from the leaves. Cut in half and then place in a bowl of water and lemon juice; this prevents the artichokes from discolouring whilst you work!