The last thing I want to do on a beautiful summer day is turn on my oven to cook dinner. I have an old 1950’s Wedgewood oven, that I cherish, but it heats the entire house when it is on. To make matters worse, I don’t have air conditioning. So I try and use it as little as possible, especially during the summer heat. As a result I am always on the lookout for recipes that can be cooked on the stovetop or even better, only require some chopping and whisking. Today I am sharing two of my favorite summertime dishes that are light, fresh and thankfully do not require an oven.
This artichoke completely changed my opinion about artichokes. Before discovering this recipe, I liked artichokes but secretly thought they were a lot of trouble for little reward – cleaning artichokes is one of my least favorite jobs in the kitchen. But when I tried April Bloomfield’s pot roasted artichokes, it all changed. In this recipe from her cookbook, A Girl and Her Greens she cooks artichokes on the stove top with lots of olive oil, wine, mint and capers. I dare you to try it and not fall in love with artichokes. The original recipe calls for baby artichokes, but if you can’t find them, it is completely fine to use regular artichokes, just make sure to clean out the center choke before cooking.
My other quintessential summer dish is a watermelon and tomato salad. Crisp watermelon paired with juicy tomatoes, topped with avocado, red onion and feta cheese, it is everything you want in a summertime dish.
Both dishes are perfect served at room temperature and they taste even better outside with a chilled glass of wine (like you saw in the latest entertaining post with Ecco Domani).
Enjoy! ~ Amanda
April Bloomfield’s Pot Roasted Artichokes
1 lemon, halved
3 1/2 pounds baby artichokes (or regular globe artichokes, halved)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1.) Squeeze lemon into a large bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, pull off tough dark outer leaves until mostly yellow leaves remain. Using a serrated knife, cut 1″ off from top. Trim stem, leaving at least 1/2″ of stem intact; using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove tough outer layer from stem. Dip artichoke in lemon water to prevent discoloration. Pry open leaves to expose choke. Using a small spoon, scrape choke from artichoke and discard. Place artichoke in lemon water.
2.) Drain artichokes and set stem side up on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Let stand about 2 minutes to drain; pat dry.
3.) Heat oil in a wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Place artichokes, stem side up (or cut side down if using large artichokes) in pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Scatter garlic over, season with salt, and cook, without stirring, just until garlic is golden, about 3 minutes.
4.) Add wine; cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer, without stirring (which could cause artichokes to fall apart), until the artichoke stems are very tender, 20 – 25 minutes.
5.) Add capers, bring to a boil, and cook, uncovered, until wine has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add mint and parsley and cook reducing heat if necessary to prevent scorching, until artichoke tops are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.
6.) Serve artichokes warm or room temperature, drizzled with pan juices and a large pinch of salt.
Tomato and Watermelon Salad
3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges and core removed
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, cut into 1” pieces
¼ cup feta cheese
½ cup cucumber, sliced thinly
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper
1.) Toss watermelon, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, feta cheese and cucumber together in a large bowl.
2.) In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey and mustard. Pour dressing over salad, add a large pinch of salt and toss well to combine. Taste for salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.