Winter in Houston (Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers’ Boiled Lemon and Artichoke Salad)

When I went for a run today, a whirlwind of golden leaves chased across the road, flagrantly ignoring the no crossing sign and skipping across the metro tracks to pile up against the opposite curb. Overhead, a cloud of birds danced in between the skyscraping hospital buildings, black and sharp against a dull blue sky. Somehow, I’m running in a tank and shorts, laughing as the warm air tangles my hair. It’s raining at home, crisp and clear in New York. Here, in Houston, it’s 70 degrees and the lady at church wore her fur coat for the first time this winter.
Rose Gray and Ruth Roger's Boiled Lemon and Artichoke Salad 

Every time I step out of the hospital to walk back to my apartment, I get just a little bit giddy at the weather and the colors. Winter in Houston is golden and green, muted, perhaps, but more similar to the summers of Eastern Washington than the Januaries of New York. Somehow, even though this salad says plainly that it is a spring salad, to be made with spring artichokes, it fits right in here. Lemons and almonds take up the yellows in the grasses, artichoke hearts mimic the fading but undead leaves. 
Houston, this salad was made for your winter color palette. I hope you appreciate the serendipity of this fact, because I’m pretty sure Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers did not do this on purpose.

The colors of winter in Houston.  

My thoughts: I was a little skeptical of any salad with “boiled” in the title, which brings to mind unfortunate stereotypes of boiled British nursery food. I was even more skeptical of a salad composed primarily of boiled lemon peel. Silly me. This is an excellent, sophisticated dish, perfect for a dinner party where you’d like to impress your guests with your culinary genius. The lemon’s bitterness is mostly cooked away and then tempered by the inherent sweetness of the chokes. Almonds add a nice textural contrast.

Notes: I, unfortunately, had to make a number of changes to this recipe, based on availability of ingredients. I used canned artichoke hearts, because there were no artichokes at the local (and somewhat sketchy) grocery store here in Houston. I also had to leave out the thyme because the store did not carry fresh thyme and was out of dried thyme. While I still loved the outcome, you should try the recipe as it was originally written (hyper-linked under the title); I’m sure it’s simply stunning then.

Boiled Lemon and Artichoke Salad
Adapted from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
Serves 4. Allow 45 minutes; 15 minutes hands-on.

2 unwaxed lemons, washed well
2 cans large artichoke hearts
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup almond slivers
2 tablespoons honey
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil

Bring a saucepan of water, large enough to hold both lemons fully covered, to a boil over medium high heat. When it’s boiling vigorously, add the lemons. Submerge them in the boiling water with a saucer or an upside down lid to keep them covered. Allow them to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the skin. Drain and set aside to cool.

Drain the artichokes and rinse well. Season with the sea salt to taste.

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and add the almonds. Toasted them, tossing occasionally, until they are nicely browned, then set aside.

Cut or tear the lemons in half and scrape out the pulp and pith. If necessary, rinse the slime off the remaining peel. Tear each half into three or four pieces.

Combine the honey, juice from the lemon and the olive oil and whisk until combined.

Toss together the artichoke hearts and lemon peels, plate, drizzle with dressing and garnish with almonds.

Every Friday, a group of women writers is blogging their way through 50 Women Game-Changers of Food – find more information here. Here’s who’s joining this week.Mary of One Perfect Bite | Joanne of Eats Well With Others | Val of More Than Burnt Toast | Susan of The Spice Garden | Heather of girlichef | Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney | Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living | Kathleen of Bakeaway with Me | Sue of The View from the Great Island | Linda of There and Back Again | Kathleen of Gonna Want Seconds | Barbara of Moveable Feasts  Linda of Ciao Chow Linda | Deborah of Taste and Tell | Nancy of My Picadillo | Mireya of My Healthing Eating Habits | Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen |  Annie of lovely things | Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook

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15 Responses to Winter in Houston (Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers’ Boiled Lemon and Artichoke Salad)

  1. Barbara says:

    The title would have made me think twice too, Taryn. But it sure turned out to be an unusual dish and would probably be even better with fresh artichokes and thyme. Thanks for trying this!

  2. Great choice of recipe, the boiled lemons sound really interesting. Artichoke, lemon and almond just sounds like the perfect dish to me.I love your description of Houston in the fall!

  3. Claudia says:

    This recipe interested me and I was unsure about the "boiled." But I do have all the ingredients and maybe boiling is good for a salad when you live in a state that is done with 70 degree weather for many months! You're pretty convincing.

  4. Mary says:

    The salad sounds wonderful. The ingredients marry well and the final taste must be fabulous. This was a great choice to showcase the skill of these women. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  5. bellini says:

    What a poignant writeup Taryn. Are you sure you want to be a doctor and not a writer:D

  6. I was skeptical of the title too. Nonetheless, I'm sure they're delicious.

  7. Kathy says:

    These women really loved their lemons…so many recipes calling for lemon today. This sounds very interesting…I love artichokes, so this salad really appeals to me.

  8. betty says:

    I find artichoke quite interesting, I never really liked them but there's something that always makes me to try it again, yours look really good

  9. I'm so intrigued by the boiling of the lemons. And I'm a huge fan of both artichokes and almonds, so this may be in my foreseeable future! I like the new look of your blog 😀

  10. Thanks, Heather! The boiling lemons almost turned me off of this recipe, but I decided to be adventurous and I'm glad I did!

  11. You picked a great one for the game changers! So glad you have joined us!

  12. Jeanette says:

    Such an interesting recipe, I would have wondered how the boiled lemons worked too – these two ladies are so clever, such a simple recipe, but once again sophisticated.

  13. Joanne says:

    I'm kind of jealous of the warm weather. Sounds fabulous!And so does this salad. Artichokes are one of my favorites!

  14. Andrea V says:

    Would never think to make something like this. Very interesting recipe! I think I'll try this sometime. Love your blog! I'm now following :)xoAndreahttp://gofeastyourself.blogspot.com

  15. Miranda says:

    Wow, this was a very interesting choice, but since I love all of those things separately, I am sure it came out beautifully.

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