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Artichoke Fricassee

ingredients

12 tender young globe artichokes or 16 artichoke bottoms
vegetable stock
5 eggs
5 fl oz (150 ml) creme fraiche or double cream
1 1/2 lemons
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 oz (40 g) butter
nutmeg
salt and pepper

serve with:

thick slices of French bread, toasted
green salad

method

1. Prepare the vegetable cooking liquid. Prepare the artichokes; cook until tender but still fairly crisp (about 10 minutes, less for the artichoke bottoms) in the prepared liquid. Drain in a colander and refresh under running cold water. Drain well again.

2. Beat the eggs just sufficiently to blend them with the cream, 1 tbsp lemon juice, salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg.

3. Heat the oil and butter in a wide, non-stick frying pan and fry the artichokes over a moderate heat for 2 - 3 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned; reduce the heat a little, add the beaten egg mixture and cook for only 20-30 seconds, stirring slowly until the eggs begin setting and form a thick, custard-like cream.

4. Remove immediately from the heat, sprinkle with the parsley and basil and serve without delay on hot plates accompanied by crisp slices of toasted French bread. A crisp green salad goes well with this dish.

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