Farmers’ Market Box March 23rd, 2023
This week’s local produce and featured farms:
- Arugula – Tamai Farms
- Murcott Tangerines – Regier Farms
- Zucchini – JR Organics
- Japanese Sweet Potatoes – Fresno Evergreen
- Leeks – Her Produce
- White Cauliflower – Black Sheep Produce
- Rainbow Carrots – Black Sheep Produce
- Pink Lady Apples – Cuyama Orchards
Farmers’ Market Box Recipes
Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Crème Fraiche and Crispy Leeks
Serves 4 1-pound Japanese sweet potatoes, scrubbed ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced using the tender green parts only 1 cup crème fraiche Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prick the potatoes with the tip of a sharp paring knife.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pinched with an oven mitt.
- While the potatoes are baking, heat the oil in a medium saute pan and fry the leeks until crispy. Drain on paper toweling and set aside. (This is a great way to use the green part of the leeks)
- When the potatoes are tender, remove them from the oven, arrange on a serving platter, split them in half lengthwise, top with crème fraiche and crispy leeks. Serve hot.
Pork Cottage Pie with Roasted Japanese Sweet Potato Mash
Serves 4 to 6 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves minced 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder cut into small pieces 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup chicken broth 1 cup beef broth 1 cup diced carrots 1/2 cup corn kernels cut from the cob or frozen and defrosted 1/2 cup petite size peas, either fresh from the pod, or frozen and defrosted Salt and pepper 1-pound Japanese sweet potatoes scrubbed, and pricked with the tip of a sharp knife ¼-1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup butter Salt and pepper 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- In an ovenproof Dutch oven, heat two tablespoons of oil, and saute the garlic, thyme, and onion for 3 minutes until the onion is softened. Add the pork to the Dutch oven, and brown on all sides, removing the pork to a plate when it is browned.
- Add the flour to the onion mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add the broths, bringing to a boil.
- Add the reserved pork, and carrots to the pan, and simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Add the corn and peas, to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook another 15 minutes until the pork is tender. Skim off any excess fat from the top of the sauce.
- While the pork is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and bake the potatoes until softened, about 50 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Remove the potatoes from the oven, split the yams, and scoop the flesh into a mixing bowl.
- Add the milk and butter and mash the potatoes until smooth. This should be a stiff mashed potato, so it doesn’t sink into the stew, so add the milk a bit at a time. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the pork is tender, spread the potatoes over the pork in the pan, sprinkle with the cheese and bake another 30 minutes until the pie is bubbling, and the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Do-Ahead: The pork stew and sweet potatoes can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking. If you would like to freeze the pie, transfer the pork mixture to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and cover with the sweet potato mixture. Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost for 2 days in the refrigerator before baking.
Arugula Salad with Murcott Tangerine Vinaigrette
Serves 4 One bunch arugula, washed and spun dry ¼ cup tangerine juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 teaspoon honey ½ cup vegetable oil Salt and pepper 2 tangerines, peeled and separated into segments ½ cup crumbled goat cheese or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish
- Put the arugula into a salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice, mustard, honey, and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the arugula with the dressing and plate the salad. Decorate the salad with tangerine segments, and
- cheese. Drizzle with dressing and serve. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. It’s also delicious as a marinade for chicken or pork (you’ll need to double it for a marinade)
Makes about 1 ½ cups 1 cup packed arugula leaves 1 cup walnuts 2 garlic cloves 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained 1/2 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients except the oil, pulsing to break up the garlic, nuts, and parsley.
- With the machine running at 1/2 cup of the oil and add more if needed. This should be a paste, not a runny pesto. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Remove from the machine and pour into an airtight container, spooning 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil over the top of the pesto, to preserve its green color.
- Refrigerate for up to 1 week, freeze for up to 3 months.
- Cooks’ Note: The pesto is terrific on baguette slices, or tossed into pasta, potato salad, or drizzled over grilled steak or chicken.
Ricotta Tangerine Bars
For the Crust 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat the inside of a 13-by-9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients, blending until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is evenly distributed.
- Press into the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
For the Filling 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 4 large eggs 1 1/2 teaspoons grated tangerine zest 3/4 cup fresh tangerine juice 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the ricotta, sugar, eggs, zest, tangerine juice, flour, and salt.
- Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.
- Cut the bars immediately after removing from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- The bars should be refrigerated, and then served at room temperature.
Serves 6 For the Glaze 2 cups fresh tangerine juice 5 tablespoons honey 1/4 cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons finely grated tangerine peel or orange peel 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves 1/4 cup packed Italian parsley
- In a food processor or blender, combine the ingredients and pulse until blended.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. Set aside. (The Glaze can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated)
For the Chicken 1 cup fresh tangerine juice or orange juice 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons finely grated tangerine peel or orange peel Salt and pepper 1 2 3/4- to 3-pound chicken, quartered, backbone removed
- In a bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Pour into a 1-gallon zip-lock bag add the chicken, seal the bag, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a sheet pan with silicone, aluminum foil or parchment.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
- Lay the chicken on the baking sheet skin side down and roast for 20 minutes, turn and roast another 20 minutes until the dark meat registers 160 degrees on an instant read meat thermometer.
- Turn on the broiler, brush the chicken with some of the glaze, and broil until the skin is crispy.
- Remove from the oven, and brush with additional glaze. Serve the warm glaze with the chicken.
Loaded Mashed Cauliflower
Serves 4 to 6 1 cauliflower cut into florets 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1/3 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese ¼ cup leek, thinly sliced, using the white and tender green part only 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat the inside of a 9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bring 4 quarts of a salted water to a boil, and cook the cauliflower until it is tender, about 12 minutes.
- Drain thoroughly and put into a large mixing bowl.
- Mash the cauliflower with the butter, sour cream, 1 cup of the cheese, and leek. Stir in the bacon, and season with taste.
- Turn into the prepared pan, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbling and the cheese is golden brown. Allow the casserole to rest for 5 minutes before serving. This can also be made in six 4-ounce ramekins.
Cauliflower Beer Cheese Soup
Serves 6 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup chopped leek 1 medium carrot, chopped 1 medium celery rib, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets Two 12-ounce bottles Belgian dark-abbey-ale style 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth 1 bay leaf Few drops hot sauce 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 3 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 leek, finely chopped using the white and tender green parts for garnish 6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled for garnish
- In a Dutch oven, heat the butter add the leek, carrot, celery, and garlic, and saute until the onion begins to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, ale, broth, bay leaf, hot sauce, and mustard, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or mash the cauliflower with a potato masher.
- Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the cheese and cornstarch, stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth.
- Garnish the soup with the leek and bacon if desired.
Serves 6 1 pound zucchini, scrubbed, ends trimmed, and sliced in half lengthwise Olive oil Salt and pepper 1 pound bulk Italian sweet sausage ½ cup finely chopped leek One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in their juice 1 teaspoon dried oregano (because this sauce will go in a hot oven, you need the strength of the dried herb) Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley ½ cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, parchment, or silicone.
- Using a grapefruit knife or melon baller, remove the inside flesh of the zucchini, leaving ¼-inch rim on the zucchini. Finely chop the zucchini flesh and set aside. Rub the inside of the zucchini with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- In a skillet, cook the sausage until it is no longer pink, breaking up any large pieces.
- Add the leek and zucchini flesh and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the leek is softened. Remove any excess fat from the pan, add the tomatoes and oregano, and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the parsley.
- Cool the mixture and fill each zucchini with the mixture.
- Sprinkle each zucchini with the cheeses and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbling and the zucchini is tender.
Pasta alla Nerano
Serves 4-6 If you watched the Stanley Tucci CNN series on Italy, this was what he called life changing pasta; I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s pretty darned delicious. 1/2-inch extra virgin olive oil (see note below) 1 garlic clove, sliced 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini squash (2 medium or 4 small) 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (the show used aged Provolone, which can be hard to find) 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup finely chopped basil 6 nests tagliatelle or 1/2-pound fettuccine cooked al dente, saving a bit of hot pasta water salt and pepper
Serves 4-6 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup chopped leek using the white and tender green parts 1 pound zucchini squash cut into 1 inch dice 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups whole or 2% milk Two 3.5-ounce packages Boursin cheese, crumbled 1 ½ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a 12-inch skillet, over medium heat melts the butter and oil together, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the squash and cook another 3 minutes, stirring a few times, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to lose some of its moisture, about 5 minutes.
- Stir the flour into the squash mixture, and cook until absorbed, another 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and Boursin and stir until the mixture comes to a boil and the cheese has melted.
- Transfer to the prepared dish and sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese.
- Do-Ahead: At this point, you can let cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
- Bake the casserole until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Rainbow Carrot Salad
Serves 4 to 6 1 bunch rainbow carrots, coarsely shredded 2 scallions, finely chopped, using the white and tender green parts 3 tangerines, peeled, separated into segments, and chopped 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper
- In a bowl, combine the carrots, scallions, and tangerines.
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss to coat. The salad can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours. Re-toss when ready to serve.
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto
Serves 4 One bunch carrot, tops removed (see note) and cut into quarters lengthwise 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil Pinch ground cumin 2 tablespoons honey Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with silicone, parchment, or aluminum foil.
- Combine the carrots with the oil, cumin, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Cook’s note: Save the carrot tops to make a carrot top pesto.
Carrot Top Pesto
Makes about 2 cups 1 1/2 cups packed carrot tops, (tough stems removed), washed, and spun dry 2 garlic cloves 1/3 cup pine nuts 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper
- In a food processor or blender, combine the carrot greens with the garlic, pine nuts, and cheese.
- Pulse on and off to break up the garlic and nuts.
- With the machine running, add the oil, until the mixture is a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Cook’s Notes: To use the pesto, the paste can be used for bruschetta, or tossed into pasta, and rice. Add more oil to some of the pesto to make a sauce for grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and poultry. Add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to make a vinaigrette.
Pink Lady Flatbread
Serves 6 1 package flatbread 1/2 pound sliced sharp cheddar cheese 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned 1 to 2 pink lady apples, cored and thinly sliced 2 to 4 tablespoons honey fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with silicone, aluminum foil or parchment.
- Lay the flat bread on the baking sheet, and top with the cheddar, prosciutto, and apple slices.
- Drizzle with honey and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, cut into serving sizes, and serve warm.
Pink Lady Apple Streusel Muffins
Makes 12 For the Muffins 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 2 large eggs, room temperature 1 cup packed dark brown sugar 8 ounces crème fraîche (or full-fat sour cream) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and still warm 4 Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- Preheat oven to 400°coat the inside of 12 muffin tins generously with cooking spray, both inside the cups and over the top.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine eggs, brown sugar, crème fraîche, and vanilla.
- Add the melted butter, pouring in a slow and steady stream, while whisking vigorously to emulsify the mixture.
- Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold until the liquid is just barely combined, being careful not to over-mix. (A few lumps are okay.) Stir in the chopped apples. Fill each muffin well all the way to the top with batter; set aside while preparing the streusel.
For the streusel 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- For the streusel, add the flour, brown sugar, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the melted butter and gently stir with a fork until well combined and small pebble-sized pieces remain throughout.
- Top each filled well with a heaping tablespoon of streusel, lightly pressing it into the batter. (A round cookie cutter placed over the cup helps keep the mess to a minimum.) Bake muffins for 18 to 22 minutes, until tops are golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. Leave the muffins in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. The batter can be made in advance and held in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or frozen for 2 weeks (thaw overnight in the fridge before using)
Sautéed Duck Breast with Blood Orange Sauce
Serves 4 4 duck breasts (about 7-ounces each) salt and pepper
- Use a thin sharp knife to make slashes through the fat covering the breasts. Season the breasts with salt and pepper.
- Heat a seasoned skillet just large enough to hold the breasts in a single layer on medium high heat. Cook the duck breast side down for 8 to 10 minutes. If the meat appears to be browning too rapidly, turn down the heat. Turn the breasts over and turn up the heat to high, brown on the flesh side for 2 minutes, until the breasts are medium rare.
- Transfer the duck to a cutting board flesh side up, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the duck breast on an angle, into strips, and arrange on warmed plates to serve.
Blood Orange Sauce Makes about 2 cups 4 blood oranges (if not available, navels will do), sectioned 2 to 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup red wine vinegar 2 cups of duck or chicken stock ½ cup Port 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons Port
- Marinate the orange sections in Grand Marnier.
- In a saucepan, combine the sugar and vinegar, bringing them to a boil. Reduce the mixture to a syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the stock. Return to the heat to dissolve the syrup. Add the rest of the stock.
- Deglaze the cooking pan with the port, and heat, reducing it to a few tablespoons. Add the reduced port and dripping to the sauce, then add the cornstarch mixture. Add the orange segment to the sauce, and taste, adding a few drops of lemon juice if it is too sweet, and add salt if necessary.
Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
Serves 10 1/2 cup unsalted butter 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar 2 blood oranges, peel and pith removed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- Coat the interior of a 10-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat, then add the brown sugar and stir for a few minutes until the brown sugar is completely combined and melted.
- Pour the butter/brown sugar mixture over the bottom of the cake pan and arrange the orange slices on the sugar syrup. Set aside while making the cake batter.
For the Cake 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 1 1/3 cups sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon orange zest 2 large eggs, at room temperature 2/3 cup sour cream 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice 2 cups heavy cream, whipped stiffly for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, orange oil, if using.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Mix the sour cream and orange juice together, add with the flour, baking soda and salt, and beat until the mixture comes together and is smooth.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Transfer the cake pan to a rack and allow to cool for EXACTLY 10 minutes.
- Turn the cake out onto a serving platter and serve at room temperature.
- Refrigerate any leftover cake, and re-warm before serving, garnish with whipped cream, crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.
Salad with Thai Guava Vinaigrette
Serves 4 2 Thai guava, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/4inch pieces 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 piece star anise 6 Tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil Salt and pepper 1 head red leaf or other tender lettuce, washed, spun dry and chopped 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, using only the red part 1/4-pound Ricotta salata shaved
- Put the guava, vinegar, star anise and 2 tablespoons of water into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the star anise, and put the mixture into a blender, and puree. With the machine running, gradually add the oil until the mixture emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper.
- Put the lettuce and onions into a salad bowl. Toss with some of the dressing, and garnish with the ricotta salata.
Guava Fruit Salad
Serves 6 1/2 chopped and seeded guava 1 Cup chopped pink lady apple 1/2 Cup chopped Pineapple 1/2 Cup quartered Cherry Tomatoes 1/2 Cup halved Seedless Grapes 1 Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped 3 Tablespoons fresh Lime juice 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- In a mixing bowl, combine the guava, apple, pineapple, tomatoes, and grapes.
- Add the chili, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar, and toss to combine.
- Allow to stand at room temperature for an hour before serving or refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving.
Carcioffi alla Romana
Serves 6 3 artichokes 1/3 cup lemon juice 3 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons, minced garlic chives 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup white wine Salt and pepper
- Cut the stem end and about 1-inch of the top off the artichokes. Trim the bottom of the artichoke with a swivel peeler and rub the cut surfaces with lemon juice.
- Mince the garlic, parsley, and mint together. Mix in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the garlic chives. Stuff the artichokes with the garlic mixture.
- Place the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a tall, narrow pot. Arrange the artichokes side by side in the pot with their stems facing up. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the remaining lemon juice, wine, and enough water to reach 2 inches up the side of the pot. Cover the pot and simmer over medium heat, lowering the flame if the liquid begins to boil vigorously, until the artichokes are extremely tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes.
- Add water in small amounts if needed.
- When the artichokes are tender, remove the lid, turn the heat up to high, and boil until most of the liquid has evaporated and just the oil remains in the pot. Remove the artichokes with a slotted spoon, and set aside to cool, reserving the cooking liquid.
- When the artichokes have cooled, drizzle them with the oil from the pot. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Steamed Artichokes with Sicilian Pesto
Serves 4 to 6 2 artichokes 1 lemon, cut into quarters A few peppercorns 2 bay leaves 3/4 cup packed fresh basil 2 garlic cloves 1 cup blanched almonds One 14.5-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, drained 1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata Olive oil Salt and pepper Additional ricotta salata for garnish
- Cut the stem off the artichokes, and trim off any tough outer leaves around the base. Cut about a 1-inch off the top of the artichoke and rub the cut ends with the lemon.
- Combine 4 cups of water, the juice of the lemon quarters, the lemons, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a Dutch oven. Place a steamer basket in the Dutch oven and arrange the artichokes in the steamer basket.
- Cover and steam the artichokes for 30 minutes until tender.
- While the artichokes are steaming make the pesto.
- Combine the basil, garlic, almonds, tomatoes, and ricotta salata in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off to break up the basil, garlic, and almonds. With the machine running add about 1/2 cup of olive oil, until the mixture becomes a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise, and dollop each with some of the pesto. Garnish with additional ricotta salata if desired.