Oct 07 2010

A Lesson in Presentation

Published by at 5:13 pm under Cooking Classes

Today was a menu day at school, so each student prepared a different course for our very involved lunch. For the first time, I was working with the appetizer, Artichokes à la Barignole, or braised artichokes.

I’ve never seen artichokes cooked this way, but I think it’s pretty genius so I wanted to share. We trimmed them and boiled them in salted water before removing the chokes and inner leaves, and then we just let them simmer in a pot with carrots, celery, onion, ham and stock. Here’s the best part: You serve them standing up in soup bowls, stuffed with all of those sauteed goodies, and then you pour some sauce around the edge. That’s for mopping up with your bread.

The French really know a thing or two about presentation.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the endless possibilities for this style of artichoke: Prosciutto, garlic and mushrooms is one that keeps coming to mind. Or purists could even serve it this way with a ring of lemon butter sauce around the artichoke and a sprinkle of herbs on top. Who needs a soup course?

The rest of the menu consisted of Ratatouille, Potatoes Savoyarde and Roasted Leg of Lamb with Garlic Sauce. And of course, an incredibly decadent homemade Hostess Cake for dessert. I now know how to make a chocolate cake and whipped cream roll-up!

That wasn’t the only artichoke-centric creation to come out of this week. More to come tomorrow…

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