Followers

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

AAA: Aunt Alice's Artichokes





I have to say that the ingredients and cooking method are very similar to mine (and my mother's). We call it Roman style, possibly because both my Mum and my Aunt learned to make this in Rome (and I learned from them). But there are two main differences between my usual recipe which I always make in New Zealand (recipe here) and this one, simply due to ... availability!!! In NZ artichokes are still rare and quite expensive, so when I get a few I cook them with all the hard outer leaves (to be scraped with teeth at the table until you reach the heart) while here in Italy artichokes abound and so we can discard the outer leaves and cook only the tender hearts. 

The other difference is that while I cooked the whole artichokes "flower side up", the artichokes hearts with stalks are cooked "flower side down", and in this way you can leave a bit of the stalk in too, they are yummy and tender!

All you need to do is to:

Clean very well the artichokes discarding all the hard outer leaves. Also peel the stalks and keep up to 5 cm attached to the floret. As soon as one artichoke is cleaned drop it immediately in a bowl full of water and lemon juice or lemon slices. Keep the artichokes in the lemon water until cooking time. 

Finely chopped Italian parsley with garlic and salt, and then use this mixture to fill the centre of the artichokes (so far the recipe is like for the upside up artichokes) but then place the artichokes upside down into the pot (like in the photos, I only turned one up to show you what the inside would look like at the end of cooking), add a little extra virgin olive oil, a few more slices of garlic (if you like), another  pinch of salt, and a couple of fingers of water. Place on the stove on low, cover with a lid and simmer for about two hours, adding water from time to time, if needed.

Now there is one last thing to be said here: Aunt Alice had a wood fire stove (stufa, a bit like an Aga, I should remember to take a photo sometimes!) and in this way you can cook the artichokes (and many other dishes) really slowly, all they long... so the ones that she makes always have a special taste. Plus she has the patience to clean over 15 artichokes!


Photos and Recipe by Alessandra Zecchini and Aunt Alice ©




15 comments:

  1. Una foto da acquolina in bocca!
    Qui in Arabia non se ne trovano, o meglio una volta ogni tanto, ad un prezzo esagerato e sempre piuttosto bruttini...un gran peccato.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mangerei carciofi a colazione...Quando vado a ROma mi faccio certe scorpacciate!!!Ottimi Ale!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mi sembra di capire che i carciofi sono una tua passione, spero tu ne abbia mangiati tantissimi in Italia...mi sono persa un passaggio, ora sei a casa??
    ciao loredana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sono ancora in Italia per altri 10 giorni Loredana :-)

      Delete
  4. Mi ha sempre divertito la parola articiocche. Lo sai che, in genovese, si chiamano proprio così i carciofi? Un bacione.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Non lo sapevo Tinny! Interessantissimo, grazie :-)

      Delete
  5. I am awash with artichokes from the garden and am cooking them to preserve for my pizzas, risottos and paellas when the days are short and I'm craving for some summer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've never used artichokes before in cooking. Mostly because I'm afraid that it's too much work, that I won't like it and that it will be an expensive exercise.

    What is a finger of water by the way?

    It must be so nice to be able to use a prized ingredient like it's abundant. It's worth traveling to countries where your favourite ingredient/food is common and cheap for that thrill.

    I guess that's like when I visited Rarotonga and ate Ika Mata every day for a week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao Bunny, one finger of water is exactly that: one finger measured horizontally (not vertically, it would be too much), in this case from the bottom of the pan (with the artichokes in first). It is a very italin way of saying, maybe it doesn't make sense in English :-).

      Delete
  7. umm.
    io li adoro i carciofi così, alla romana, per l'appunto. poi ognuno ci varia qualcosa, ma in buona sostanza sono così, e sono strabuonissimi.
    hai ragione sai, troppo spesso diamo per scontate le cose che abbiamo a disposizione....
    bentornata (ma sei tornata?) ^^

    ReplyDelete
  8. I adore artichokes, Alessandra, and will try this family recipe of yours. Happy new year to you and yours - I am enjoying your beautiful travel photos!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bellissima foto! Mi hai dato un'idea per un altro piatto VisualFood! Un bacione, Ale!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bene, voglio vedere cosa sara', fammi sapere eh!!

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails