We noticed something intensely in our recent trip to Sicily. Artichokes were in season, really in season. You could buy them unbelievably cheaply: 10 for 1 Euro. So every restaurant had artichokes aplenty.
While “stew” is not the most charming word in the English language, a spring stew of vegetables can be delightful. This one is spring in a nutshell. Well, a pea pod. There are a lot of veggies here, so you may want to decrease the amount of fava beans or peas. Or, you can Americanize this dish by adding in some bacon or ham to make more of a main course.
Later in the year, perhaps the peas go to be replaced by corn. There is an infinite span of ideas available to you here as the growing season evolves.
Frittedda or Vegetable Stew
Yield: serves 8 [or more most generously]
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice, strained
- 8 globe artichokes
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 10 cups shelled broad (fava) beans
- 10 cups shelled peas
- 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Half-fill a bowl with water and stir in the lemon juice. Break off the artichoke stems, remove and discard any tough outer leaves and any chokes. Cut them into wedges and plunge into the bowl of acidulated water with added lemon juice.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Drain the artichoke wedges well, add to the pan and cook for a few minutes, then add the beans. Pour in hot water to cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir the sugar into the vinegar, drizzle it over the vegetables, increase the heat to high and cook for 5 minutes, until it has evaporated. Transfer the stew to a serving dish and let cool completely before serving.
Source: Sicily by Silver Spoon Kitchen [Phaidon, 2013]