4-6 very young, fresh globe artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon
12 very fresh small carrots, preferably with their leaves
2 small, tender fennel bulbs
1 celery heart
6 scallions/spring onions
Scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Scant 1/2 cup lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: Only the freshest, most tender artichokes are suitable. Have one or two large, juicy lemon wedges ready to rub over all the cut surfaces as you work to prevent discolouration. Remove the tough outer leaves. Cut off the upper section of the remaining leaves, leaving the fleshy, edible base of each leaf attached to the stem. Doing this will expose a central “cone” of leaves: slice about 1″ off the top of this and part the leaves to gain access to the “choke”, the spiny filaments which must be carefully trimmed away, leaving the fleshy dish-shaped heart intact. Use a small, sharp knife to scrape away the skin from the stalk. As each artichoke is finished, drop it into a bowl of cold water acidulated with the juice of lemon. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Step 2: If the carrots are very young and tender, scrub well and leave whole with a little stalk attached. If larger, peel and cut lengthwise into quarters.
Step 3: Discard the outermost layer of the fennel, cut the bulbs from top to bottom, dividing them into quarters, and rinse well.
Step 4: Cut the celery heart lengthwise in half or quarters, wash and drain.
Step 5: Trim and wash the radishes, leaving any fresh, unwilted leaves attached.
Step 6: Trim the scallions, leaving only a short length of green leaf attached. Unless they are very fresh and firm, remove the outermost layer of the bulb.
Step 7: Drain the artichokes thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
Step 8: Arrange all the vegetables on a large serving platter.
Step 9: Place the platter in the middle of the table and give each person a plate and a small bowl. Place containers of oil, vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper on the table and let each diner prepare their own bowl of dressing to dip the vegetables into. Serve with plenty of fresh bread.