Carciofi alla Romana is symbol of Roman traditional food. Thereby, it is one of those dishes that you can find in almost all trattorias in Rome. It is a simple recipe that really captures the flavour and greatness of good artichokes, like the ones that can be found at markets this time of the year.
Back when I was in Portugal, I used to look at these beautiful vegetables and always end up avoiding them because I didn’t really know how to cook them. One of these Saturday market mornings, I decided to remain for a while observing my usual vegetable providers cleaning them. We talked for a while and they also explained me how to cook them.
I realized that an important part of this simple recipe is in the artichoke cut, it is this preliminary process that allows to reveal the real potential of the vegetable.
I hope this post inspires someone to do some artichoke cooking action, because it is really worth it.
- 5 artichokes romaneschi
- 5 small garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
Prepare a container with water and add the juice of half a lemon to it, this water will help you prevent artichoke oxidation.
Start by removing part of the artichoke foot, you should leave only around of 3 cm of foot. With a small and sharp knife you should start removing the outside leafs until your artichoke looks like a rose. Don’t be afraid to remove outside leafs, those are the ones that when cooked will be full of fibers and you don’t want to be eating artichoke like a chewing gum. Remove the outside layer of the artichoke foot, which contains more fibers. Make sure you clean all the rough edges and keep rubbing the other half of the lemon to avoid the oxidation process. Repeat the same process with all other artichokes. Use your finger to make more room in the artichoke central hole and insert chopped up parsley, salt and a small garlic clove. It is very important to mention that the original recipe always includes calamint along with the garlic and parsley filling. I decided not to use it because it is a herb that it is difficult to find outside Lazio region and because I prefer this simpler version, even though 90% of Romans will tell you that it is the calamint that takes the Carciofi alla Romana to the next level. In a pot, add the olive oil, the filled artichokes upside down and let them fry for 1 or 2 minutes in medium to high heat. Then, add just enough water to cover about half of the artichokes, put the lid in the pot and let them cook in a medium heat for 30 minutes. You will know that those artichokes are cooked when the foot is tender or when you can easily remove one of the outside leafs.