Artichoke Bottoms In Cheese Sauce

6 large globe artichokes
vegetable stock
juice of 1 lemon
1 oz (30 g) grated Gruyere cheese
For the cheese sauce:
14fl oz (400 ml) bechamel sauce or veloute
2 egg yolks
oz (40 g) grated Gruyere cheese
Garnish with:
tomato rosebuds
Serve with:

Courgette puree

Gently boil the artichoke bottoms in vegetable stock. Fill a large bowl with water acidulated with the lemon juice. Prepare the artichokes, stripping each one right down to its fleshy base; remove the choke and cut off the stalk. Use a small sharp knife to pare away any rough edges and drop immediately into the acidulated water. When they are all ready, poach in the cooking stock for about 20 minutes or until they are tender. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180 °C) mark 4. Make the cheese sauce: make the Bechamel or veloute sauce, which should be of pouring consistency and not too thick for this recipe. As soon as it has thickened, take the saucepan off the heat and beat with a balloon whisk as you add the egg yolks one at a time, followed by the grated cheese.

Drain the cooked artichoke bottoms and cut each one into 3 or 4 thin sections. Cover the bottom of the dish with half the sauce, place the sliced artichokes on top, cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Dot little flakes of butter here and there on the surface. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, to form a golden brown layer on top. Serve immediately, garnished with a few tomato rosebuds.
Courgette puree makes a good complement to the artichokes, both in taste and appearance.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180 °C) mark 4. Rinse the tomatoes and cut them horizontally in half. Lightly oil 2 wide roasting tins and place the halved tomatoes, cut side uppermost, in a single layer in them. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sprinkle with a little olive oil.

Tear the mint leaves into small pieces and sprinkle these over the cut surfaces of the tomatoes. Pour in just enough water, between the tomatoes, to cover the bottom of the tins and come about one-quarter of the way up the sides of the tomatoes. Bake for about 50 minutes.

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