One of our fondest foodie memories from our last trip to France was when we arrived in Pèrigueux on Bastille Day, stumbled onto the farmer’s market, and came across the largest artichokes we had ever seen. Keep in mind that we live only a few miles from Castroville, the Artichoke Capital of the World, and we should have some experience with this. However, at home we never seem to be able to find the best artichokes and when we do, they are usually very expensive. So, one of the goals of this trip was to find some of those gigantic artichokes again. Well, sure enough, when we visited Périgueux this time, we were able to buy some more. Once is never enough for us when it comes to artichokes because we love them so much.
Norman has become an expert at manhandling these monster artichokes we have come across on our travels through France. Earlier this week, we stopped in the small but very quaint village of Lalinde with no other objective than to take a brief rest and walk around the town. There was a small farmer’s market in progress and lucky for us, we found more huge artichokes which we were quick to purchase.
So, here’s how Norman creatively prepared them this time…
He removed and trimmed the leaves and stems, and cooked the hearts for about 45 minutes or until tender when poked with a knife or fork.
Then he carefully removed the choke.
Next he spread each heart or crown with a very thin layer of Brie.
In order to make the topping, he finely chopped cornichons and radishes as well as some smoked salmon.
He combined these ingredients and added olive oil, dill, salt, and pepper.
Finally, he layered the mixture on top of the Brie and finished it with a couple of knotted strips of smoked salmon.
The result was like eating a fine steak. It was very rich and delectable — best consumed one small bite at a time with a few slices of pain de campagne to accompany it.
Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy one or two more meals like this before we leave. It was amazing!