You, the dedicated “locavore,” might have thought that artichokes, which crave a cool, foggy California climate, wouldn’t prosper in New York State. You would be wrong. “They love our soil,” says Orange County farmer Jeff Bialas, who tends to a few thousand plants that produce artichokes beginning in July and continuing right up until the first frost. “They’re really very prolific, they just keep comin’ on,” he says. Try them braised Roman style, fried Roman-Jewish style, or steamed and grilled Bialas style. Or simply slice them raw and toss with lemon, olive oil, and plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano, as in this recipe from Morandi chef Jody Williams—a California expat but an equal-opportunity artichoke lover.
Jody Williams’s Raw-Artichoke Salad
3 large lemons—1 for lemon-water bath, juice of 2 for salad dressing
8 medium artichokes (available at the Bialas Farms stand at Greenmarket, W. 97th St., nr. Amsterdam Ave., Fridays)
½ cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
Prepare a lemon-water bath by squeezing the juice of one lemon into a bowl of cold water and tossing in the peels. Through each stage of cleaning and trimming, return the artichokes to the bath to prevent them from browning. (Alternatively, rub the trimmed artichokes with a halved lemon; Williams does both.) (1) Discard the tough, dark-green outer leaves of each artichoke by bending them back and snapping them off, until you reach the pale-yellow inner leaves. (2) With a vegetable peeler, peel the stem and remove the fibrous green base around the bottom of the artichoke. (3) After all of the artichokes have been peeled, slice about an inch off the tops. Slice artichokes in half lengthwise, and remove any sign of a fuzzy choke with a small spoon. Thinly slice artichokes lengthwise and (4) dress generously with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cheese. Serves 4.