Carciofi alla Romana (Roman style artichokes)
Did you know that artichokes require a humid environment to grow and be soft to eat? Italy offers the perfect environment, thanks to its coasts that offer mineral rich soil with humid evenings. During ancient Roman times, artichokes were a main stay, and over time, the preparation was perfected. The actual recipe comes from Roman country style cuisine, which is basic and simple, but absolutely delicious. Follow our recipe, and make a perfect ‘Carciofo alla Romana’!
4 medium-sized artichokes
2 garlic cloves
5-10 leaves of fresh mint
Small bunch of parsley
1 glass of water
Mediterranean Sea Salt
Ground black pepper
Start by rinsing the artichoke under cold running water. Then, use the knife to cut off the stem about a half inch from the bottom of the base of the artichoke. Now the peeling starts. You can use your hand to pull off all of the outer petals or you can use a knife. Once you’ve gotten through the outer petals, you’ll be left with the softer inner petals. Use the knife to trim around the base of the artichoke to remove the outer petals there too. Peel off the outer skin of the remaining stem. Next, use the knife to cut off the top 1/3rd of the top of the outer petals. This part of the artichoke is tightly closed and is hard to peel, so we cut it off. Then, use a spoon/or a knife to scoop out the small hairy part that sits directly on top of the artichoke heart.
Pour water in a large bowl and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. With the leftover squeezed rind, rub your artichokes with the juicy lemon rind so that their heart won’t turn brown. Put your artichokes in the bowl. Let them rest for 5 minutes.
Cut the stalks and chop them in tiny cubes and add them to a bowl. Pour 2 tbsp of EVOO in it, then add garlic, the finely chopped fresh mint, the finely chopped parsley. Season with salt and ground black pepper, and mix evenly with a tablespoon. Then fill the heart of your artichokes with this mixture.
In a medium-sized pot, pour 4 tbsp of EVOO, then add the artichokes, upside down, so that the ‘rose’ will be in direct contact with the bottom of the pot, season with salt and ground black pepper. Pour a glass of water. Cover all the artichokes with some wet parchment paper. Cover with a lid and cook over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
This dish pairs perfectly with a Vermentino DOCG.