Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Baby Artichokes Roman Style

Last year on a trip to Rome I had a delightful dish called Carciofi alla Romana, or Artichokes Roman Style. They were beautifully trimmed, slightly chilled, and flavored with mint, garlic and parsley. Served with a wedge of lemon and drizzled with olive oil they were exquisite. I thought I would try to replicate this dish with baby artichokes. The sweetness of the artichokes worked well with the fresh mint.
I was lucky enough to have the help of my teenage daughter. While I took the pictures, she cleaned and trimmed them, leaving the stem attached. We then steamed these beauties for 10 minutes. At this point they were ready to be sauteed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil for just about 2 minutes. At the end I threw in a handful of chopped mint and parsley. Tossed a couple of times in the pan they were fragrant and ready to eat.

Before I could get a really good picture of them, my kids wolfed them down. Having the assistance of my beautiful daughter made them taste even sweeter. Thirty small artichokes will serve 4 people as a side dish, or 2 hungry teenagers as a snack.Start by cleaning and trimming the artichokes. Pull the leaves off one by one and discard.Once you've gotten down to the soft leaves, the crown will break off quite easily.Using a melon ball tool, clean out the choke.Once you've removed the choke,trim the stem and rub all cuts with lemon.Place in a bowl of cold water with lemon juice.

Baby Artichokes Roman Style

30 baby artichokes, trimmed and stem left intact
1 lemon
, halved and juiced into a medium bowl of cold water (reserve the halves to rub on the chokes)
a handful of parsley leaves

8 leaves of fresh mint

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Trim the artichokes by breaking off the leaves one at a time. When you reach the central cone, the leaves will be soft and light green. You can break these off leaving the heart and choke. Using a melon ball tool, remove the choke. Trim the stringy outer layer of the stem and rub all cuts with lemon. Toss the trimmed artichoke hearts in the lemon water.

Finely chop the parsley and mint together. Set aside.

Steam the chokes for 8-10 minutes until tender. At this point they can be set aside to be served later. If serving immediately, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan with the garlic. When you can smell the garlic's aroma, add the artichokes. Toss the artichokes in the garlic and oil for about 2 minutes. Add a handful of the chopped parsley and mint mixture. Toss again several times, and serve with a squeeze of lemon over the top.

Serves 4, as a side dish.

All texts and photographs are property of The Gypsy Chef

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