This is a wonderful dish from the Ragusa province, combining four of spring’s most cherished foods: baby artichokes, broad beans, tiny peas and tender spring veal.
1 thick slice of stale farmhouse bread, crusts removed
milk, for soaking
4 baby artichokes
juice 1 lemon
250g veal mince
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Italian ‘00’ flour, for dredging
6 tbsp olive oil
125g fresh peas
225g podded broad beans, skinned
fresh mint, chopped, to garnish
Soak the bread in milk for 15 mins. Meanwhile, remove and discard the top outer leaves of the artichoke and slice off the spiny tips. Remove the choke and cut the rest into ‘Y’ shapes. Put in a bowl, cover with water and add the lemon juice. Squeeze the bread dry and break into breadcrumbs with your hands.
Put the veal, cheese, bread, garlic, egg and seasoning in a bowl, and mix well. Using your hands, form sausages the size of wine corks and dredge in flour. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, add the veal and cook for 12 mins over a medium-high heat, turning to brown on all sides.
Once the veal has started frying, heat the remaining olive oil in a mediumsized saucepan over a low heat. Drain the artichokes, add to the pan with the peas, broad beans and seasoning. Stir well, cover and cook for 10 mins, adding a few tbsp of water to create a little steam. (This is called cooking in ‘umido’, which preserves colour and texture.)
Add the veal to the vegetables and stir well to blend the flavours. Garnish with the mint and serve.