Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Artichokes) (Italy)

Artichokes are a special part of a Roman spring. Jewish-style artichokes are flattened and fried, and are delicious, but they can be devilishly difficult to cook at home. Roman-style artichokes, on the other hand, are, as I’ve learned, only regularly difficult to cook at home.

The cooking isn’t the problem. It’s the cleaning.

Artichokes are spiny, woodsy, challenging, and inside there’s the nasty, inedible, fluff-ridden choke. Why on earth do we bother?

 

Because they’re delicious.

 

I’ve seen some recipes which only call for the hearts, while others allow more of the leaves. Here’s what I’d recommend: trim the outer leaves, using a y-shaped vegetable peeler to remove all the woodsy bits. Then cut the tops off the artichokes, so that you can spoon out the nasty choke. Put them into lemon juice infused water - this will keep them from browning.

Once they’re cleaned, slather them with herbs and plop them in a pot with olive oil and wine. Braise them until they’re tender and enjoy!

Serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole lemons (for maintaining artichokes' color)

  • 4 large or 12 small artichokes (2 pounds; 1kg)

  • 1/4 cup (7g) minced flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

STEPS

  1. Fill a large bowl with water; halve and squeeze 2 lemons into it. Keep one lemon half to the side after squeezing - you can use this to rub onto the artichokes as your clean them.

    1. Using a serrated knife, cut off top of artichoke and bottommost part of stem.

    2. Using a paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler, trim away the tough outer leaves to expose the tender inner leaves and heart.

    3. Trim away fibrous outer layer around stem to expose tender inner core (if stem breaks off, that's okay; just save it and cook it alongside the hearts).

    4. Slice the top off each heart deep enough that you can dig into the heart but not so deep that you lose the artichoke.

    5. Using a spoon, scrape out the inedible, hairy choke in the center of each heart.

    6. Transfer cleaned artichokes to bowl of lemon water as you work, covering them with a clean kitchen towel to keep them completely submerged.

  2. Trim artichokes by cleaning them down to the hearts:

  3. In a small bowl, stir together parsley, mint, oregano, and garlic. Rub concave side of each artichoke heart with herb mixture, packing it into any leafy crevices. Set aside remaining herb mixture.

  4. Add olive oil and wine to a pot just large enough to hold all the artichokes closely side by side, so that they can sit flat with their stem sides up. Arrange artichokes in pot and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Bring pot to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until artichokes are fork-tender, 20 to 30 minutes. (Smaller artichokes may not take as long.)

  6. Remove from heat and transfer artichokes to a platter, stem sides up. Drizzle with cooking juices, along with some fresh olive oil and a light sprinkling of reserved herb mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Recipe from https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/10/carciofi-alla-romana-roman-italian-braised-artichoke-recipe.html - They have a terrific page on cleaning artichokes, complete with video!

Photo by Drew Vahrenkamp

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