Carciofi Ripieni alla Genovese
Spring has most definitely sprung and with it comes marjoram, a welcome partner for artichokes and other spring vegetables that have begun to appear at the fresh produce markets. When you cook this dish you can expect your kitchen to fill with the fantastic fragrance of marjoram baking in the oven. This will be enough to stimulate your appetite into a slight frenzy as you wait for it to finish baking.
With Easter coming up I have been looking around for the most authentic recipe for this time of year, Torta Pasqualina, which I will post soon, and while doing some research I have come across the author Eugenio Torre. He wrote Le Ricette Di Una Famiglia Genovese, Recipes of a Genoese Family, a book documenting and compiling all the recipes in his family. He wrote this book from recipes written in notebooks or on loose sheets of paper by his aunts, grandmothers and great grandmother. The ones that were not written down, he wrote from his memory of a household lead by his mother who owned an ovine butcher shop and who shared cooking evenings where many recipes were exchanged with other important families of his area.
I got in contact with Eugenio about some of the local artichokes in his area. He has a presence on Youtube where you will find him preparing the recipes from the book. So this recipe comes from Eugenio’s book and was probably made by one or more of his ancestors in Liguria.
Ingredients serves 8
2 garlic cloves
1 small bunch marjoram leaf
4 dried field mushrooms
1 cup of crustless bread
200ml / ½ cup of milk
½ a nutmeg
2 tablespoons parmiggiano cheese
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Soak the mushrooms in a little warm water.
Chop up the white of the bread and soak in the milk.
Finely chop the onion and gently fry it til translucent, not brown.
Place the peeled garlic and marjoram together in a pestle and mortar, or whizzer, and mince them together.
Finely chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan with the onions. Moisten with a little of the soaking water and allow to cook a further 5 minutes.
Put this mixture into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Once the onions and mushrooms are cool, crack 8 eggs into the bowl with a little salt.
Beat a little, add the garlic with marjoram, a little white pepper, the parmiggiano cheese and half a nutmeg grated. Mix together well with a fork.
Squeeze the bread to remove any excess milk and place the bread into the bowl with the mixture and mix through well.
Pre heat an oven to 175 C /340 F
Prepare a 22 cm /8.6 inch baking dish (I used a cake tin) by oiling the entire surface and then sprinkling it evenly with breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs.
Drain the artichokes of their lemon water and place them into the baking tray, sprinkle them with a little salt and ensure they cover the entire bottom surface of the tray.
Pour the egg mixture into the baking tray and flatten out with a spatula making sure that the mixture fills the spaces between the artichokes.
Sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs and drizzle with more olive oil.
Bake at 170 C /340 F for 50 minutes. It will gain some volume while it bakes.
Keep an eye on it and remove it when the top is nice and golden brown.
Allow it to cool. You make have to use a knife to detached it from the sides of the baking dish.
It can be served warm or cold (but not from the fridge) and is accompanied well with a fresh tomato salad.
I tried a few different ways of presenting.
The Artichoke Blog