Carciofi alla Romana in tegame
Preparation - Difficult
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 min
Yield: Serves 4
A typically Roman dish that appears on the antipasti table of restaurants during artichoke season when they are young, tender and plentiful. Sold in Roman outdoor markets ready to dress and cook, prepared by women at stalls selling artichoke, who clean and prepare them as they chat barely glancing down at their hands. They then plunge the artichoke into a bucket or pan of water with cut lemons to prevent them from turning black. The stems are left attached so leave about 1 1/2 inches of the stem attached.Alla Romana - Roman style - is good served hot or cold and can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. The servings range from 4 - 8 depending on the size of the artichoke, but usually one artichoke bottom per person is sufficient. Don't try to prepare this unless you can get really fresh, tasty and tender artichokes.
4 large or 8 small fresh artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 cut
2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1 T fresh mint, or 1/2 t dry mint or oregano
2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mixing bowl, flame-proof casserole with cover.
In a bowl, mix the mint (or oregano if you cannot find mint), parsley and garlic salt and pepper.
Prepare artichoke by pulling back and snapping off the tough outer leaves making sure the light colored bottom part of the leaf remains attached to the bottom. Continue till you reach the light colored tender heart, cut off 2/3 of the leaves and scoop out the remaining leaves and thistle at the center. Rub with a cut lemon and place in cold water to which you have added the juice of a lemon.
Stuff artichoke hearts and rub sides with the mixture of herbs and place tops down, stems up in a heavy bottomed pan or flame proof casserole with a tight fitting lid and just large enough to hold the artichokes.
Add the olive oil and enough water to cover artichokes to stem, but not the stem.
Place casserole on high heat, bring to a simmer (make sure cover is on tightly) and cook for 30 to 40 minutes depending on size and freshness of artichoke.
At about 20 minutes check to make sure there is enough liquid.
Remove when done, place in a dish face down and pour the reduced cooking liquid over the artichokes.