Braised Artichokes, Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Mint

Braised Artichokes TGF - 1

So what’s up this week?  Braised Artichokes with Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Mint.  Spring has arrived, and with it truckloads of fat green globe artichokes.  No groaning (Oh, god, not artichokes, they’re such a pain…).   No, they’re not, and if we learned anything at all from recent  events it’s that the small gestures we take for granted are more precious than ever.  You only know what you’ve got when it’s gone, so start snapping those leaves off.  

Empty Bowl

Today is Friday.  I got up at 6 this morning to cycle down to Boylston Street to photograph the improvised memorial for Marathon victims, a trip I’d managed to postpone for three days, afraid of what I’d feel once I got there. Flowers and poems and marathon medals.  A visual to  accompany an explanation about why The Garum Factory isn’t running our usual format.

Instead, I learn that a young MIT policeman is dead, as is one of the bombing suspects, and the city is in lockdown while scores of police attempt to locate the second bomber.

By the time you read this, it may be all over.  But regardless of where we are in this narrative, I’d like to devote a moment to its beginning, last Monday.


Polenta with Pancetta, Asparagus and Shaved Gouda-25

Last week Jody and I were treated to a delicious dish of broiled polenta with mushrooms at the home of friends and we immediately began thinking about a spring variation. Our first impulse, topping it with chicory and fava beans, didn’t work out because fresh favas – or a good substitute – aren’t in stores yet. What is available now is asparagus – and pancetta, and for a new wrinkle on the cheese, Aged Gouda.

A patio of one’s own – Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco

Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco TGF-1

Here’s the scene: working-class neighborhood, first house, first back yard, first patio.  Radical move against the local pave-the-yard-build-a-grape-arbor esthetic.  We christened the patio’s finish by inviting neighbors Pam and Chris to join us for Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco.  At the time, almost two decades ago, I’d heard of Romesco, the thick Catalan sauce based on roasted red peppers and nuts, but not grilled spring onions, which my wife assured me was a big deal in Barcelona.  She was right.  The Calçotada is a month-long Barcelonan lovefest to calçots, spring onions, which are then grilled and slathered with Romesco.  Imagine a sloppy Falstaffian bender lasting most of April, involving untold quantities of red wine and masses of fragrant grilled onions wrapped in newspapers or served in inverted clay roofing tiles and eaten with your hands.  Uh-huh, who isn’t down for that?