The Heart of the Matter
Fresh globe artichokes in varying shades of purple and green, and in various shapes and sizes, are a show stopper in any street market from spring though to summer in the Mediterranean. Not so very long ago, fresh globe artichokes (not to be confused with Jerusalem artichokes) were a rarity outside of specialist greengrocers but they are now creeping into mainstream supermarkets up and down the country.
These are not the young tender hearts we are familiar with preserved in oil.
The artichokes can be cooked in advance and added to the freshly cooked pork when ready to serve.
NB a quick version of the recipe can be made using preserved artichokes. Simply drain a small jar of artichoke hearts and slice them thinly and arrange on kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil. Prepare the pork tenderloin as below, top with the sliced artichokes, sprinkle with a tablespoon of finely chopped parsley mixed with 1 small finely chopped garlic clove, cover with a lid and leave for 5 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time.
Pork Tenderloin with Sliced Artichoke in Garlic, Parsley and White Wine
500 g pork tenderloin
Juice of ½ lemon
2 large fresh artichokes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
A good handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
225 ml white wine
125 ml cold water
2 tablespoons of plain flour, seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper
A handful of flat leaf parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra finely chopped flat leaf parsley for serving
Cut away any sinew or fat on the tenderloin and cut into 2 cm thick slices. Arrange well spaced out, cut side down on a board and flatten them with the palm of your hand. Then cover with a length of cling film and using a rolling pin beat the pork pieces evenly to 5 mm thick slices and reserve.
Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl of cold water. Clean the artichokes; trim the stem leaving 3-4 cm and scrape with a potato peeler. Pull away the tough outer leaves and scrape the base with the potato peeler. Cut the artichoke in half down through the stem, cut away the top of the leaves leaving the base and 1-2 cm of the leaves. Scoop out the choke using a serrated grapefruit spoon if you have one. You will be left with the tender base and stem. See photographs. Immerse in the acidulated water until required.
When required, drain the artichoke halves, dry thoroughly on a clean tea towel and slice thinly.
Cover the base of a large frying pan with extra virgin olive oil, add the finely chopped garlic and parsley and put on low heat. When the garlic and parsley start to wilt, add the prepared artichokes and increase the heat. Cook for 3 minutes, turning the artichokes in the oil from time to time. Add salt, 125 ml of the wine and 125 ml cold water and cook for a further 20-25 minutes or until tender. Cover with a lid after the initial 5 minutes. Add extra water if necessary.
When ready to serve, dip the prepared pork tenderloin slices in the seasoned flour. Put a second frying pan on high heat and when hot add enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the base. Add the meat slices and brown on both sides then add the remaining 100 ml white wine. Reduce the heat and turn the meat in the pan juices.
When the artichokes are ready, transfer them to the pan containing the meat, making a single layer on top of the meat. Add the pan juices and cook for 3 minutes, lid on. Switch off the heat; add the finely chopped parsley and rest for a few minutes before serving with waxy new potatoes tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil or butter.