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Boston star Ana Sortun of Oleana uses Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean spices to produce food described by The New York Times as ‘rustic-traditional and deeply inventive’. She insists that traditional spice blends can make our food rich,exciting, satisfying, comforting and provocative without the need for butter or cream.
Makes 24 cocktail-size artichokes... Read more.
Bring 4½ litres of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Add spinach and cook until wilted and tender, about three minutes. Drain and set in a bowl of ice water to shock and cool quickly. Drain again and squeeze out as much water as possible with your hands. It works best by squeezing small amounts at a time. Roughly chop the spinach and set aside.
Trim the long fronds from the fennel and remove outer tough layer. Cut in quarters and remove the core. Slice the fennel lengthwise and then chop to a fine dice.
In a medium skillet, heat two tablespoon olive oil and add onion and fennel. Cook for about four minutes on low-medium heat until onion is translucent. Stir in 3/4 of the garlic and all the spinach and cook for five minutes more.
Place in a mixing bowl and stir in dill, spring onions and ouzo.
Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree the feta, egg and yogurt. Stir into spinach mixture and season to taste.
Prepare the artichokes by trimming them of the first outer layer and splitting them in half. Remove the choke and place them in a pot of cold water with the juice of one lemon.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender when poked with a skewer or paring knife.
Drain and cool. Season the artichokes with salt and pepper to taste and line them cut side up on a heavy baking sheet. Fill each art choke half with a heaping teaspoon of filling and pop them under the grill for three minutes or so until bubbly and hot.
Cool slightly and spoon on a half teaspoon of za’atar mixture.
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