Most years we get hardly any rain at all in May. Some years we get no rain apart from the occasional thunderstorm between the beginning of April and the end of September. The last few days have been very wet and grey. It’s a bit gloomy (although good for the garden and the water table), but it makes the colours of the fresh new vine leaves stand out against the damp earth and stone.
In the olive groves the trees are covered with flower buds, all about to open:
And in the garden the mangetout peas are flowering at last:
I picked our only artichoke – a perfect small one:
I wanted to taste its full flavour – and share it between two people! – so after removing the outside leaves I sliced it thinly and fried it in olive oil. This really concentrates the flavour and the slices are delicious served with just a sprinkle of salt.
I first ate them like this in a restaurant in Figueres in Catalunya and since then have often copied the idea at home. Recently Maddogtvdinners posted a tempting photo of this dish, eaten in a restaurant in Barcelona, but I don’t think I can cut them quite as finely at home! This is one of the simplest artichoke dishes, but you need to use very young artichokes without a choke.