Charred artichokes, marcona almonds, grapes

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Oh, London. You’re finally starting to get your act together and show us some sun. It’s not hot, and most days it’s merely ‘meh’ but the promise of warmer times is in the air and it’s delicious. To celebrate, some summery dinners. (Although I feel I spend half my cooking life willing summer to arrive, so really this wishful-thinking style of cooking isn’t anything new!)

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This is a very simple recipe that brings exciting, new combinations of flavours together, with just a simple dressing of lemon juice and good quality olive oil (my absolute all-time favourite dressing for already tasty ingredients). If you’ve not tried charring cooked artichokes, you must. Especially seasoned with lemon and smoked salt.

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I served this Spanish-inspired assembly with grilled chicken thigh skewers that were lightly marinated in smoked paprika, saffron and – yep – more E.V olive oil.

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Serves 2 for a light dinner.

You will need:

Handful of juicy seedless red grapes, halved
2 tbspns marcona almonds
Smoked salt
1 x 400g tin artichoke hearts, drained
2 handfuls of soft and subtle salad leaves, such as butterhead
Spanish E.V. olive oil (maye 2 or 3  tbspns)
Black pepper, to serve
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful parsley leaves

Method:

1 – Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
2 – Press the artichoke hearts firmly to remove all water. Half and leave to drain thoroughly for 15 minutes.
3 – Place the almonds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with smoked salt. Put in the oven for 5 minutes or so until lightly toasted and delicious.
4 – Prepare the salad by arranging the leaves on two dinner plates. Scatter over the parsley leaves, the grapes and and almonds.
5 – Massage some smoked salt and olive oil into the artichoke hearts while you preheat a griddle pan. Add the artichoke hearts once hot and charr on all sides.
6 – Meanwhile, squeeze half the lemon juice over the arranged salad and drizzle with olive oil.
7 – Once the artichokes are nicely charred, squeeze over the remaining lemon juice. Wait 1 minute before removing the artichokes from the pan and placing on top of the salad. Drizzle with olive oil, if liked, and black pepper. Tuck in!

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