I had hoped to recreate Carciofi Alla Guidea, pictured here, which is a deep-fried artichoke I enjoyed in Rome on my recent trip, enjoyed in restaurants in the Jewish ghettoes of Rome.
Somehow my efforts were not quite so beautiful as what you see here. The recipes I researched had two quite different methods, so if you want to try them you can look at this one at Epicurious, and this one at ItalianMade.com.
There’s a great reference page on artichokes here, complete with a little video of trimming the artichoke which doesn’t really get into the removing the choke part. The trimmed artichokes pictured here at a Roman market are so young you don’t even have to remove the chokes, because they haven’t formed yet.
I also braised some artichokes in chicken stock, which came out alright, but nowhere near the big, yet tender and flavourful artichokes we had in Rome.Are you picking up on a theme? The best artichokes to eat whole, whether braised or deep-fried, are young and fresh.
It’s quite a chore to find them here in Canada, at least this time of year. They’re not just piled up for sale on street corners, like they were in Italy! However, if you still want some artichoke flavour, without having to trim, de-choke and otherwise fuss, try this recipe I adapted from an appetizer I had several years ago at King Pacific Lodge in northwestern BC. The chef at the time served it after a chilly day out on the boat fishing, so this warm dip was a perfect way to move from outside to inside with a glass of wine before dinner. Serve on fresh slices of baguette. The best part about this recipe is that the artichokes come from a can…and you never get any chewy and prickly parts.
Warm Artichoke Spread
1 14 oz./398 ml can artichoke hearts…not marinated!
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped into small chunks
1/3 cup parmesan cheese shavings or 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Put the artichokes, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic into a food processor. Process until just blended and there are no artichoke chunks left. Transfer to microwavable bowl, and stir in the green olives, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Microwave the spread for a minute or two before serving to warm it up. (it tastes best warm!)