As I mentioned in my article on how to eat figs, my friends Lianne and Stuart were very happy to jump on my raw food bandwagon and embrace raw food for the weekend when I visited them in Monaco a few weeks back.
Stuart is a fantabulous chef and uncooked us all a delicious Fig and Cashew Creme Tart. Not only that but he also showed me how to prepare artichoke so it was edible in a raw dish. Artichoke has never been a firm favourite of mine, purely because it can be fiddly and after you’ve removed the leaves, there’s very little of it that you can actually eat! I can’t say it is something that will feature in my diet on a daily basis, but now that I know how to get to the good stuff, I may just conjure up a little artichoke delight should I feel compelled in the future.
Until that day though, should it arrive, you can feast your eyes on this gorgeous salad that Stuart made from porcini mushrooms and baby artichoke.
I never used to eat a lot of mushrooms but on reading that large quantities of mushrooms are thought to boost the immune-system I think I have eaten them every single day for the last 6 months. I normally buy shiitake and chestnut, and occasionally portabello.
In his book,‘anti cancer – a new way of life’, Dr David Servan Screiber explains how in Japan, the shiitake, maitake, kawaratake and enokitake mushroom are staple foods. They are even provided to patients in hopitals during chemotherapy to help keep up their strength. The rate of stomach cancer is as much as 50% lower among Japanese peasants who consume large amounts of these mushrooms, compared to those who do not. Studies have actually shown that the number and activity of immune cells increase notably in patients who are given mushroom extracts. Even immune cell activity increases within the tumour itself. So it’s fairly plain to see that mushrooms = good. To that end…
Porcini Mushroom and Chilli Walnut Salad
- 3 porcini mushrooms
- 2 baby artichoke
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 3 pears
- 2 cups walnuts
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 tablespoons
- Pinch salt
Soak the walnuts in filtered water for 2 hours+. (This makes them easier to digest and begins the germination process making them “living” and therefore more nutritious). Once soaked, mix the walnuts in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the agave nectar and chilli and place in a dehydrator (or oven leaving the door ajar) for 4 hours.
At the same time, slice 1 pear into thin strips using a mandoline or vegetable peeler. Place in a bowl, brush with lemon juice and pour over 2 tablespoons of agave until they are completely covered. Lay on a dehydrator tray or oven tray and dehydrate until chewy.
Peel the artichoke, strip down the hard outer leaves, cut in half scooping out the fury core centre. Finely chop and marinate in a bowl with the shallots, crushed garlic, thyme, lime zest and salt, and immerse in 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover tightly with cling film and leave in the fridge over night.
A few hours before serving
Bath the mushrooms in cold water and brush off any soil and trim any hard ends off. Place on top of some kitchen towel to dry out. Then chop finely and marinate in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cover for an hour.
Assembly – Serves 3
Arrange the chewy pears, chilli nuts, mushrooms and artichokes on a plate. Cut the remaining fresh pears into chunks and distribute evenly between plates. Add the shallots. Mix the left over artichoke marinade with 1 tabelspoon agave nectar and drizzle over plate.
It takes a little preparation but believe me, it’s well worth it! Thanks Stu for an amazing culinary delight!