CARCIOFI DELLA NONNA
My grandmother’s favourite vegetable was artichoke. And the way she cooked it… you could taste the love in it.
It is a very special vegetable (actually it is a flower!), and not just because of its unique look -beautiful like a rose, spiky like a cactus- but also because, despite its harsh and acid taste when raw, the artichoke flavour becomes delicate and scented like a flower once it is cooked.
It has to be cleaned and it might seem difficult, also because if you look at my description of how to do it, it is sooo long. But that it is because it is easier to do it than to describe it! Hope the photo will help! The second time you won’t need it and you will be super fast.
Artichokes are typically grown in the Mediterranean area but after seeing one in my friend Linda’s garden here in Switzerland I immediately bought one.
The plant grew so fantastically that I let the flowers bloom in their magnificent shade of electric blue. The plant is perennial and it will resist the winter if you don’t do like me and you properly cover it…
Few more things about this magic flower: it is full of iron, full of fibers, it has very little calories (22 every 100g) and it is depurative for the intestine, the blood and the skin because of its diuretic and toxin cleansing effect.
As if great looks and taste were not enough….
- 8 artichokes
- ½ lemon
- 1 glass bouillon
- 1/3 glass white wine
- 1 clove garlic
- For the filling
- 15g breadcrumbs (possibly from old bread or a local bakery)
- 10g grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 5 pinches salt
- pepper if you like it
- Good bunch of parsley (and mint if you have it)
- EVO (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- Chop parsley, mint and garlic (this without the inner sprout). Mix with breadcrumbs and parmesan. Add salt and pepper.
- Squeeze half lemon in a bowl full of water. Scrub your hands with the leftover lemon.
- Clean the artichokes as shown in photo. Start by peeling down and off the external leaves until you reach softer leaves (they have a more yellow/pink colour). Don’t be scared about throwing away, but leave enough fresh leaves.
- Cut off ⅓ of the top and the whole stem.
- With a knife roughly peel the outside part of what remains of the hard leaves. Peel also the stem.
- With a melon baller take the core of the artichoke out. At the core there is what in italian is called “beard” of the artichoke, it has to all come out.
- As soon as one artichoke is clean put it in the bowl. This will prevent the artichoke turning black.
- Take one artichoke at the time, squeeze the water out, open the flower top a little bit with your hands and fill the empty core with your mix of breadcrumbs and herbs. Pour oil over the top.
- Heat 2 spoons of oil and 1 clove of garlic (divided into two and without the sprout) in a pot. Put artichokes in the pot, straight and facing up. Put also the stems in the pot. Cook them on high heat for 4 minutes and then add bouillon and white wine. Turn down the heat to medium-low, sprinkle with some salt and close the pot with a lid.
- Let artichokes simmer for 1 hour or until they are tender. Check the liquid every once in a while, adding water if needed. Top them with oil at the end.