This is a recipe by Nikolaos Kontelos who was born in 1933 and raised with his older sister Daphne on the Aegean island of Lesvos in the village of Eresos. From a young age he enjoyed watching his mother Despina cook and always helped to gather the ingredients for his family. From these early life lessons, Nikolaos grew a strong appreciation for good food. Now at 85, he still cooks beautiful meals and can create wholesome and delicious dishes even with just a few simple ingredients. Now you can enjoy one Nikolaos’ special dishes!
A delicious, Greek, spring dish of artichokes and broad beans that you can serve with feta cheese or a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt.
2 Flat white onions
1 Bunch spring onions
1kg Broad beans
10-12 Garlic cloves coarsely chopped
500 g Shelled peas
1 Small bunch dill coarsely cut
1 Small bunch parsley coarsely cut
All the above ingredients should be washed thoroughly
1 cup Water
¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparing the Main Ingredients
- Fill a bowl (large enough to fit the artichokes bulbs and stalks) 2/3 full with cold water and add 2 halves of one lemon.
- Trim the base of the artichoke stalk; cut the stalk from the artichoke bulb; peel the stalk; cut it in half widthwise and place it in the bowl of water.
- Remove the outer leaves of the artichoke bulb, until you reach the leaves that have a yellow hue at their base.
- Cut the artichoke bulb 1/3 down from top.
- If the inner leaves of the upper portion look tough, then discard this section. If the inner leaves look tender, then remove and discard the outer leaves and place the upper portion in the bowl too.
- Repeat for the remaining artichokes.
- Trim the base of the larger artichoke bulb and cut it in half or in quarters (depending on its size), either from the base or the top, but not all the way through; rub it with some lemon and place it in the bowl.
Flat White Onions
- Trim the top of the stalk and the base of the onion bulb.
- Cut the stalk from the onion bulb; remove the outer layer of the stalk; cut the stalk lengthwise and cut each half into 2cm lengths.
- Cut the onion bulb in half and cut each half into wedges.
- Repeat for the other onion.
- Top and tail the spring onions and cut into 3-4cm lengths.
- Top, tail and trim the sides of the bean pods.
- If the pods are soft and tender to the touch, keep them whole; if the pods are firm and hard to the touch, remove the beans and discard the pods.
- Top and tail the lemons and cut them into quarters or halves, depending on their size.
Preparing the Artichokes with Broad Beans
- Add ½ cup Olive Oil to a deep pot and heat it on high.
- Once the oil is hot, add the onions, onion stalks, spring onions and garlic; cook till the onions brown a little and soften.
- Add the artichokes, broad beans, peas, lemons and water; cook on high till you hear the pot ‘crying’; then reduce heat to medium-high.
- Check and stir the ingredients every 10 minutes for about 45 minutes to an hour; add an additional ¼ cup of Olive Oil half way through the cooking process.
- Add the dill, parsley, salt and pepper; but do not mix them through.
- Cook for a further 15 minutes before stirring through the herbs and seasoning.
- Continue to cook the dish until the artichoke stalks are soft.
- Turn off the heat and allow the pot to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serving the Artichokes with Broad Beans
- Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt or feta cheese.