30th August 2015

Artichoke and hake

By MaitreMarcel

We spent a week in Brittany, on the coast, where we saw the sea with oysters and lobsters, and close to the sea there were large fields with vegetables.

Brittany is a big producer of cauliflower, tomatoes and artichokes, the large variety.

However, when I wanted to buy some at a local farm, the farmer said he had none left because of a dry spell. Back home, near Paris, we did find artichoke on the market.

Years ago, when I followed a course at the Alain Ducasse school, I was told how to “turn” a raw artichoke with a special hooked knife in order to get a perfect artichoke bottom for further preparation. It is a rather finicky operation.

Nowadays, I usually cook the entire artichoke first, cool it down in cold water, and then cut the leaves. That is an easier way and you can then also eat the other leaves, however the bottom is mainly flat, without the rim of the raw bottoms that are easier to fill with other ingredients (pouched egg, foie gras).

Hake is a simple and cheap fish that is often discarded by cooks who prefer cod or other flaky white fish. Here, I cleaned the fish, fried it in a bit of oil, then removed the flesh and cooked that a bit longer in a skillet with ground cumin and ginger. Very nice.

The artichokes take some 30 to 45 minutes to cook, the fish 20 minutes.