Polenta chips with baby artichokes and sauce vierge

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These gluten-free polenta chips make a delicious Provence-inspired starter. Paired with baby artichokes, wilted spinach and a fresh sauce vierge, this is French cooking at its finest. Take a look at Mark's other Provençal recipes here.

First published in 2019





Sauce vierge



For the polenta chips, place a saucepan over a medium heat and add the milk and butter. Bring to the boil, then whisk in the polenta and cook for 2–3 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the Parmesan and whisk well, then season and pour into a deep tray or dish (but don’t allow the mixture to be spread too thin). Cover with cling film and set aside to cool
Pick the outer leaves off the artichokes with your hands, then trim and shape the stalk with a sharp knife. Run the knife around the artichoke, removing the remnants of the outer leaves, then cut the top of the artichoke flat. Place the artichokes in a pan of water with the halved lemon to prevent discolouration
Once all the artichokes are ready to be cooked, add a splash of white wine and olive oil to the pan. Season with salt and bring to a simmer, cooking gently until a knife can be inserted without too much resistance (about 10–20 minutes, depending on size). Leave to cool in the liquor
  • 1 dash of white wine
  • 1 dash of olive oil
  • sea salt
For the sauce vierge, mix together all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to gently warm through before serving
Heat a deep-fat fryer or deep pan of oil to 170°C. Unmould the cooled polenta and cut into thick chips, then deep-fry until golden (about 5 minutes) and keep warm
  • oil, for deep-frying
While the polenta chips are frying, wilt the spinach in a dash of olive oil and keep warm
When ready to serve, gently warm through the sauce vierge in a pan. Drain the artichokes, halve them and reheat in a pan with a little olive oil to give them some colour
To serve, divide the spinach between 8 plates. Place the polenta chips and artichoke halves on top, then spoon the sauce vierge around them. Garnish with edible flowers and parsley leaves

Mark Dodson speaks the language of comfort food with Shakespearean fluency, turning perfectly formed elements into down-to-earth (but heavenly) compositions.

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