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The Artichoke and my “tagliatelle with artichoke and black summer truffles”

21 Jul

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Artichoke facts.
Technically, an artichoke is a flower. In full growth, an artichoke plant can spread nine feet in diameter and stand five feet tall, and one plant can produce over 20 artichokes a year.

Artichokes are a significant source of vitamin C, folic acid and magnesium. Virtually fat-free, the artichoke weighs in at 25 calories (per medium artichoke) and is low in sodium.

Artichokes are one of the oldest foods known to humans

The artichoke is a perennial thistle that originated in the Mediterranean.

The artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed.20140721-152616-55576405.jpg
The first mention of artichokes in literature was around 40-70 AD in The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides, a book on the medicinal uses of plants.

The Greeks and Romans considered them to be an aphrodisiac.

Until the 16th century, women were prohibited from eating them in many countries because they were still considered to have aphrodisiac properties.

King Henry II’s wife, Catherine de Medici, introduced the artichoke to France in the 16th century . She said, “If one of us had eaten artichokes, we would have been pointed out on the street. Today young women are more forward than pages at the court.”

Artichokes were introduced to England by the Dutch in the 1500s.

They were brought to the United States in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants.

The top artichoke producers today are Spain, France, and Italy.

California produces 100% of the United States artichoke crop, with Castroville, California calling itself the “Artichoke Center of the World.”

In 1947 Marilyn Monroe, then still going by her given name Norma Jean, was crowned Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen.

Artichoke preparation.

1. Fill a bowl with cold water, then squeeze in the juice of a lemon and add some lemon slices. Have a halved lemon to hand to rub over the cut edges of the artichoke as you prepare it. The lemon juice will prevent the artichoke from oxidising and turning brown.

2. Pull off the tough, dark green outer leaves of the artichoke. Continue until you’re left with the light tender leaves in the centre, then rub all over with the halved lemon.

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3. Slice off the top 2cm of the remaining artichoke leaves. Trim the stalk, leaving about 2.5cm, and rub the cut surface with the lemon.

4. Use a small knife to trim the remaining dark green skin from around the base of the artichoke and the top of the stalk, rubbing with lemon as you go. Trim to give a neat shape and flat bottom.

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5. Halve the artichoke lengthways to expose the fibrous choke in the centre. Rub with lemon juice, then use a teaspoon (or a grapefruit spoon if you have one) to scoop out the choke from each half. Pull out the tough, spiky red leaves from the centre and rub again with lemon. Put the prepared artichoke hearts in the bowl of lemony water until you are ready to cook them.

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Tagliatelle with artichoke and black summer truffles. Tagliatelle con carciofi e tartufo nero estivo

Ingredients
Serves 2

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2 globe artichokes prepared and sliced ( see my tip for perpetration )
2 tbsp olive oil
I medium onion or banana shallot
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp double cream
salt and pepper
250g tagliatelle pasta fresh or dried it’s up to you
75g parmesan half grated and the rest as shavings ( a potato peeler is fantastic for this )
25g toasted pine-nuts
50g/1¾oz fresh black truffle

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Slice the prepared artichokes in half and cut into fine slices.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the artichoke onion and garlic for two minutes.

Add four tablespoons of water, cover with a lid and cook for four minutes, or until the artichokes are tender.

When the artichokes are cooked, add the parsley and cream and season with salt and pepper.

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Meanwhile In a pan of boiling salted water, cook the tagliatelle until al dente. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the tagliarini to the frying pan containing the artichokes.

Add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water and half of the grated parmesan to the frying pan. Toss well and grate a little truffle into the pasta.

Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Toss again so the truffle is absorbed into the sauce.
Serve in hot bowls with more truffle slices, toasted pine-nuts and the remaining parmesan shavings on top.

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For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call
: simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0031 (0)642297107

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The Truffle & my Tagliatelle with Steak and Porcini in a Truffle & cream sauce and Truffle shavings

4 Jun

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What is a Truffle?
Often called the diamond of the culinary world, a truffle is a rare, edible mushroom that is considered to be a delicacy due to its intense aroma and characteristic flavor. They have a firm texture and are most often shaven on top of food before serving, although they can also be used to infuse flavor into dishes. Though there are hundreds of different species, only some — mostly those found in the genus Tuber — are considered delicacies. Truffles grow underground in symbiotic relationships with trees and are difficult to find; as a result, they are usually harvested in the wild by trained pigs and dogs.

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Types of Truffle

The black winter truffle

Also known as, “Périgord Truffle” or “The Black Diamond of Provence,” it is harvested mainly in Italy, Spain, and France, where it grows under the shade of oaks, hazelnut, chestnut elm and poplar trees, typically from November to March, peaking in January and February. Contrary to popular misconceptions, no country’s truffle is superior to the other. Fresh black truffles are by far the most highly sought-after variety of this mushroom, although they fetch extraordinarily high prices. The winter black truffle is actually more of grayish-brownish black on the outside, with white spidery veins on the inside that indicate maturity (the summer variety will be of a more brownish color, but are the same size). It weights typically between 2 and 3oz. The Winter Black Truffle is highly sought after for its earthy, subtle aroma, and a taste once described as mixture of “chocolate and earth”.

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White winter truffle

The winter white truffle goes by a number of different names, including Italian white truffles and Piedmont truffles. The winter white truffle is known for its unique flavor, with a strong infusion of garlic. These winter white truffles are also distinguished by their intense musky aroma, and shoppers should look for this strong scent as they are selecting their truffles.

Keep in mind that white truffles are not truly white – in fact they will be more of a yellowish color. The best winter white truffles will also have a smooth exterior, so it is important to examine each one carefully. And although fresh white truffles do have a strong aroma, that aroma tends to fade more quickly than with black truffles, so it is important to use those fresh truffles as quickly as possible after they have been selected.

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Black summer truffle

Although not held in such high regards as the winter variety, summer black truffles are still a delicious and versatile ingredient. Depending on weather variations, the season for this truffle goes from May to the end of August. They grow among oak, hazelnut, chestnut, elm and poplar trees, like the winter variety. From the outside, it looks pretty much like the Winter Black truffle, with a knobby, roundish shape and dark brown skin. The flesh or interior of the truffle is yellowish-grey, with spidery white veins webbing around. Towards the end of the summer, the flesh turns a darker brown. The summer black truffle is not as spectacularly fragrant and aromatic as the white truffle, but it does have a very nice aroma – much more subtle, but still quite appealing. They are better utilized by being cooked, to bring out the most of that subtly earthy chocolaty flavor.

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White summer truffle

Also known as the Marzuili truffle, this would probably be your best bet when going for summer truffles. Although not as highly aromatic as the Winter White truffle, the Summer White still has most of that pungency characteristic of white truffles. It is found in the same regions of Italy as the winter variety, primarily Piedmont, Tuscany and Marches in Italy, and is the exactly same variety of mushroom, only harvested during the summer instead of the winter (black truffles, on the other hand, are a different species altogether in the winter and in the summer). They are much more affordable than the winter variety, so it allows for more experimentation and more quantity. The flavor is sweet and with hints of garlic, with a musky fragrance. It tends to look the same as Winter White truffles, with the interior going from a smooth yellow color to a dark brown with white veins as the season progresses. As with other white truffles, they are best used sliced or shaved over already cooked dishes, to maximize the aroma of the truffles.

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10 truffle facts

1.Truffles grow in harmony with a host tree, enabling the tree to take in phosphorus while in return the truffle receives sugars enabling it to grow.
2. The ancient Greeks thought truffles were made when lightning hit damp soil
3. Truffles are mushrooms which are believed to have started growing underground to beat forest fires, drought and severe cold
4. Italians consider the white truffle (tuber magnatum) to be superior in taste to the black truffle (tuber melonosporum)
5. Pigs, trained dogs and goats are used to sniff out truffles which produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in male pig’s saliva. Men secrete the same chemical in their underarm sweat

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6. The truffle has been described variously as a diamond of cookery, fairy apple, black queen, gem of poor lands, fragrant nugget and the black pearl.
7. The Collins family of Wiltshire held the only Royal warrant to hunt for truffles in the UK until 1930 since when anyone has been allowed to seek them out
8. A rare Italian white truffle sold for £28,000 at a charity auction in 2004
9. France is the largest producer of truffles, harvesting up to 30 tonnes a year. At the end of the nineteenth century production was over 1,000 tonnes
10. A fabled aphrodisiac, the black truffle’s penetrating aroma led the Epicureans to liken the scent to that of the tousled sheets of a brothel bed. In the Middle Ages, monks were prohibited from eating truffles for fear they would forget their calling.

Tagliatelle with strips of Steak and Porcini in a Truffle cream sauce and truffle shavings

Ingredients
Serves 2 preparation & cooking +/- 30 mins

250g good quality tagliatelle
250g filet steak sliced into 1cm thick strips
200g fresh porcini mushrooms sliced , if not available shiitake can be used as an alternative
1 clove garlic crushed
200ml double cream
20g fresh truffle
Olive oil
Knob of butter
A large sprig of thyme
Handful fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
Handful grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to season

Method

1. For the truffle cream place 10 grams of the truffle into a blender of magimix pulse for a few seconds to break up , now add the cream , pulse to combine .

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break up , now add the cream , pulse to combine .
2. Bring a pan os salted walter to the boil and cook the tagliatelle according to packet instructions until all dente .

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3. In a sauté pan or wok heat oil on a medium to high heat add crushed garlic ( don’t let it burn!) add strips of beef and the sprig of thyme , cook for 2/4 mins .
4. Add the porcini mushrooms and the knob of butter cook for a further 2/4 mins until perfectly tender.
5. Add a tablespoon of the pasta cooking water to the steak & porcini ( the starch in the water will help bind the sauce together )

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6. Drain the tagliatelle and add to the to the steak , now add the truffle cream and chopped parsley , toss or stir to heat up , ready to serve.

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7. To serve divide between hot dishes , top with grated parmesan cheese, thinly slice rest of the truffle and skater all over .

Boun appetito 😊🍴

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Boun appetito 😊🍴

For mor info , questions or query s mail or call:
simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com. 0031 (0) 642297107

And of course I can come and cook it for you🔪🍴

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