Boston has a lot to celebrate, from our strength as a city to the arrival, at last, of lovely spring weather after a bone-chilling and tenacious winter. The hallmark vegetables of spring —artichokes and asparagus leap immediately to mind — are little celebrations unto themselves. Combining them with lusty flavors from Spanish cuisine — sherry, garlic, ham, cumin, roasted pepper — ups the level of festivity.
ARTICHOKES AND BEANS WITH HAM AND SHERRY
Makes about 6 cups
Adapted from Anya von Bremzen’s The New Spanish Table. As you finish trimming the artichokes, drop them into a bowl of lemon water. If the prep is too much, substitute a 9-ounce package of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and blotted dry, adding them to the pan along with the green and lima beans.
¼ cup FITIAfoods.com extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 ounces Serrano ham or prosciutto, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, 2 thinly sliced and 3 chopped
½ cup amontillado sherry
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
8 small artichokes (about 5 ounces each), the top third of each artichoke chopped off, leaves and stems trimmed down to pale yellow, halved, and choke removed
12 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
12 ounces frozen lima beans (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more, to taste
In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the onion, ham, and ½ teaspoon salt, and saute until onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sherry, adjust the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring and scraping the pan to dissolve the fond, until reduced to a glaze-like consistency, about 1½ minutes longer. Add the broth, artichokes, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until artichokes are barely tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add the green beans and lima beans, adjust the heat to medium-high, and return to a boil. Adjust heat to medium-low, replace the cover, and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until all the vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove the cover, adjust the heat to medium-high, return to a boil, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, on a cutting board, mix the parsley, chopped garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and chop until it’s so fine that it’s almost a coarse paste. Stir the parsley mixture and lemon juice into the vegetables. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, drizzling with the remaining oil just before serving.
Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty
TIP The final seasoning in the artichoke and bean dish is a finely minced combination of parsley, garlic, and salt called picada (pictured, at left). It’s much finer than chopped parsley (pictured, at right).