Posts Tagged ‘artichoke recipes’

Potato Pizza with Artichokes

August 2nd, 2011

 

Pizza di Patate e Carciofi

 

This is not a dish commonly found in restaurants but more often prepared in homes and is as rustic as it gets. Sprucing up a dish like this to look fabulous is a challenge but the flavours and textures will not let you down. The southern Italian heritage comes through with the Scamorza cheese, which tends to resemble mozzarella but is firmer as it has less moisture. The flavour of Scamorza also has it’s own unique nuttiness and a pique that mozzarella does not. If you cannot find Scamorza at your deli, a good mozzarella will do but remember that Scamorza is saltier and earthier so the overall experience will be different. One thing to make sure of is that you do not have a punchy cheese that will compete with the artichokes for flavour. Scamorza is also stringy when it melts so you will get the same cheesy stretch when pulling it apart.

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Sausage Stuffed Artichokes

July 9th, 2011

Ripieni di Salsiccia

There are some things that obviously do not translate from Europe to Australia. Winter is one of them. Sydney is in a climatically temperate belt and temperatures never dip as low as Europeans or most Americans would be familiar with during the colder months. I love that a European winter turns your apartment balcony into an extension of your refrigerator. Leaving milk on the outside windowsill is something I learned to do while living in Europe. This would definitely never happen in Sydney, Australia, where any food left outside of a fridge for a few hours will be approached with caution. Regardless of this, salami has to be made sometime, and it is the cold that determines when it should be done. In Italy my parents would customarily make enough salami for the year, plus a bit more. The period of Carnevale is the traditional time for slaughtering a pig and getting everyone on board to make the most out of every little bit of it.

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Stuffed Artichokes

June 21st, 2011

Carciofi Ripieni


This dish is really what started this artichoke obsession for me. My mother’s stuffed artichokes is a dish I always remember loving. It’s not just the flavour but just how fun they can be to eat. I remember the stuffing between the leaves being a real joy to savour and she made them so perfectly that the stuffing sometimes formed the shape of the artichoke leaf. You need to use your hands to get the most out of this dish and I love licking my fingers after a yummy meal. Do you?

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L’ Osteria di Zio Aldo

June 7th, 2011

“They’re a lot of work and people won’t drink.”

Blog refresher. If you haven’t read this blog before, about a year and half ago I met a guy in Foggia, Puglia who has the craziest, eccentric kitchen and a wonderful giving nature as a cook. His name is Zio Aldo and he has run a restaurant within the historical centre of Foggia since he retired as a youth worker. Not any old restaurant, mind you, but a den enriched with many stories, years of cultural tradition and an unreserved love of the local. I wrote a post about Zio Aldo and one of his recipes at that time.

I promised him the first time we met that I would revisit and he promised me a menu full of artichoke dishes. We alerted him to our descent south and this is where we headed mid spring along the coast from Le Marche, through Abruzzo, briefly skirted Molise and into Puglia.

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Frittella Siciliana

November 21st, 2010

Frittedda

QUICK! If you’re in the southern hemisphere get to the markets quickly before the spring ends and some crucial ingredients disappear. This dish is a classic Sicilian plate originating in the west of Sicily.  Late in the artichoke season throughout Italy, you will find fave beans being sold right next to artichokes, so it’s inevitable that they will find themselves in some recipes together. The further south you make your way in Italy you will see an increasing abundance of both artichokes and fave beans. The dish photographed above is from Trattoria Piccolo Napoli in Palermo A Slowfood listed restaurant specialising in seafood with a generous offering of vegetable antipasti and side dishes.

You may know fave beans as broad beans where you come from. Once they are removed from their pods they need to have their skins removed. (This is not absolutely essential and certainly wasn’t done in the past when every little morsel counted.) The easiest way to remove the skin from each bean is to toss them into boiling water for half a minute. Remove and refresh under cold water. You will notice the skin wrinkle and lift off the bean, which then can be easily removed with a knife or your fingers. You can also make this with dried fave beans which will need soaking overnight. It’s not the same as the fresh experience but the flavour is unmistakable. It’s also ok to use frozen peas but remember to halve the weight indicated in this recipe.

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Montelupone Celebrates Artichokes

September 1st, 2010

How many places can boast a view of a sunrise over the sea, a view of snow-capped mountains and a lazy sunset of rolling green hills that seemingly go on forever? My guess is not many; but come to hinterland area around Montelupone (MAP) in Le Marche and you got all that plus a cute little ancient hilltop town to roam around in. If you time it right, you could be roaming around while they celebrate their annual artichoke festival, which had some pleasant little surprises for us.

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Trattoria Mario With Artichokes And Lamb

August 13th, 2010

Agnello Con i Carciofi

Alice and I sat a table at Trattoria Mario with red wine in our glasses, held high, toasting our last lunch at Mario’s…”for a while”.

We went to the cashier to pay our bill and after having already written a post on Mario, I remembered being told that I should make myself known the next time I was to visit.

I relayed my disappointment onto Fabio, at not having a chance to report on any artichokes coming out of their kitchen. He called out for his brother Romeo’s attention and asked “what can we make with artichokes for this guy?” A few tight Florentine phrases were exchanged between them and the response was “ Do you like lamb?

“Sure.”

This is how much I liked the lamb.

“Come for lunch tomorrow, early. And we’ll make you the lamb with artichokes. It won’t be on the menu, we’ll make it just for you”

He made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.

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Moretto Artichoke of Brisighella

July 18th, 2010

Carciofo Moretto di Brisighella

Looking more like ammunition for a medieval catapult than an edible food, these particular artichokes were pretty much unknown of before about 10 years ago. Around Brisighella, (MAP) these spiky little buds have been able to make a home of the rough, uneven, hard clay terrain and eroded hills (called Calanchi). In this terrain they have been able to inhabit and thrive virtually as a wild thistle. Whoever it was that originally thought about them as a source of food must have had to undress them in the times before the modern day gardening glove.

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Artichoke feast in Torricchio, Tuscany.

June 27th, 2010

Sagra del Carciofo Fritto


How many towns in the world can claim to be a one monk town? My guess is, not many, but Torricchio (MAP), just near Uzzano in the provence of Pistoia can, and it seems they are very proud of the monastery and the part it has played in the town’s heritage.

The tiny Uzzano town

On the face of it, this Sagra (celebration) is held by the monastery, but how can one aging Cappuccini monk organize such a massive party for the locals? These days the monastery lends the town it’s kitchens, gardens and dining areas where a feast can take place.

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Riotorto Artichoke Festival

May 19th, 2010

Sagra del Carciofo Morellino, Riotorto May 1st and 2nd, 2010


Just outside the non-descript Tuscan town of Riotorto, in a public pine forest called La Pineta, is the biggest hoedown for artichokes on the Italian peninsula. At edition number 41 it is one of the oldest artichoke celebrations anywhere in the world. It will usually be held over a week and always reach critical mass on the weekend closest to the holiday May 1st. Riotorto produces it’s own variety of the Morellino artichoke, which is the most common of Tuscan artichokes.

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Chiusure in spring.

May 15th, 2010

Chiusure in Piazza in Primavera 24th – 25th April, 2010

How can such a tiny town put on such a big party?  The roads leading into the Tuscan town of Chiusure MAP were lined with parked cars of springtime party goers, which made finding a spot to park, a little adventure and finished with a nice walk into town amongst olive groves. Over a weekend in late April the town, of only seven hundred inhabitants, holds an annual springtime festival called Chiusure in Piazza in Primavera (Chiusure in the Square in Spring) and it really is a great get together. It was the first time we had seen an actual groovy affair attended by lots of down to earth, young, mature hipsters and not dominated by families trying to find a way to keep their children entertained.

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Carciofo Bianco di Pertosa

May 1st, 2010

The White Artichoke of Pertosa


Who said old-fashioned hospitality was dead? In Pertosa Alice and I were treated to a day of the most enthusiastic generosity you could imagine.  We were greeted by the young and energetic Giuseppe Lupo who, among many things, acts as the local councilor for agriculture in his hometown.

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Sezze Artichoke Festival

April 28th, 2010

Sagra di Carciofi Sezze, 18th April, 2010

Just under an hour by train south of Rome, Sezze (MAP) is a solitary hilltop town set on the highest point of a ridge surrounded by fertile plains which are home to a vast number of artichoke fields. Nestled in amongst the modern town is the historic centre with its long, narrow and tangled streets. It’s a typical or rather stereotypical old Italian town with cobble stoned paving, stone buildings and old, grey haired ladies peering out through doorways at all the curious visitors roaming the streets on days like this one when it hosts the Sagra of the local Artichoke.

This sagra was held on Sunday, 18th of April on the same weekend as the festival in Ladispoli. If you have to choose between the two, I would absolutely recommend this one as it was all about the artichoke and nothing else. On the day the streets are lined with stalls selling cute little handy crafts or artisanal foods like salami and cheeses. Some stalls promote and sell the local artichoke called carciofo setina or, as the locals say, carciofolo sezzese.

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Ladispoli Artichoke Festival

April 23rd, 2010

Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco, Ladispoli

This town boasts the largest artichoke celebration in Italy but I’m here to dispute that claim on the basis of irrelevance. I was thinking that just like an artichoke, 80% of it (the festival) is made up of stuff you can do without and you have to work hard to get to the end (of the street) till you get to the heart where the true prize is.

Ladispoli is a seaside town about 45 minutes by train from Rome. One of those towns that definitely looks better at night and certainly takes on a much more appealing atmosphere once the sun has set.

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Artichoke Gelato

April 19th, 2010

Sorbetto di Carciofo

Cerda is a remarkably un-picturesque Sicilian town in the middle of some of the most stunning Italian countryside you are likely to find. A little deviation off the main highway will wind you through a hilly green terrain, with gigantic rocky outcrops and cliffs towering above cloud level.

The spring crop.

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Zia Eleanora’s Artichokes

April 15th, 2010

Carciofi alla Calabrese da Zia Eleanora

As I leave Turin and start a pilgrimage to many Artichoke festivals which all happen in this part of the season, I need to visit a few relatives and deal with the pleasantries. Zia Eleanora; this auntie is well know within the family for her cooking so I turned up to her place with ten artichokes in hand and asked if she could show me a recipe. She said this one was just one of many artichokes recipes she has in a recipe book kept in her head which is very protective of.

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Artichoke and Blood Orange Salad

April 8th, 2010

Insalata di Carciofi da Mammalicia

Whenever friends come to Turin, we always make sure we have dinner at a trattoria called Mamalicia.  An inviting restaurant with a big history and eclectic décor where once you sit down you begin to notice details that point towards a rich and eventful past.

Mamalicia is run by one of Turin’s Grandi Chefs (top chefs), Maria Buzzi and her small crew of dedicated staff. Maria’s vision is to maintain the integrity that was built up in Mamalicia’s heyday during the 60’s and 70’s. Just as the name suggests, the restaurant was originally in the hands of a lady known as Mamma Licia who, in the 50’s, started the humblest of eating spots. Family operated for over four decades, the dining room was dominated by one, long, central table, where diners would sit together for a single sitting, and be served an entrée, main, cheese, fruit and wine for 1000 lire (less than 1 Euro).

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Torta Pasqualina

April 3rd, 2010

Torta Pasqualina

Pasqua = Easter or Passover. The name of this torta embodies the time of year when you’ll generally find it. I’ve honestly never seen one on a menu but it’s one of those dishes that you hear more about people making in the home.

They don’t come much more traditional than this one but whenever you ask around about traditional dishes you can expect some contention. This dish is typically made with leafy greens and not artichokes therefore many people think that the real Torta Pasqualina does not include artichokes. On the other hand there is another camp that believes that the original recipes calls for artichokes but they were replaced in an age when they were beyond the affordability of most people so the recipe changed to include a cheaper vegetable.

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Spritz

March 27th, 2010

Spritz al Cynar


I came to live in Italy prompted by a work stint in Venice during the summer of 2005. It was the first time I had stayed in Venice for an extended period and also the first time I was introduced to Spritz. Actually it was the first time that I understood how to truly enjoy alcohol, as Venetians are known to be the tipplers of Italy, I began to see the attraction. As you cruise around Venice in the afternoons during the warmer months, you will notice mostly orange and red drinks sitting on the tables of the open air bars.

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Genovese Artichokes

March 21st, 2010

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.

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Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Artichokes and Bottarga

March 11th, 2010

Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Carciofi e Bottarga

Stepping back into the Ghetto of Rome for this recipe and back to La Taverna Del Ghetto where they have artichokes in some key signature dishes. This is a dish that you’ll find repeated in varying forms around the country from Sardegna to Liguria, Venezia, Puglia and Roma. The key ingredient is fish roe served with artichokes and some form of pasta. It is often found with the hand made pasta varieties of tagliolini or spaghetti alla chittara.

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Artichoke Caponata

March 3rd, 2010

Caponata di Carciofi


Mention the word Caponata and I think most Italians will begin to salivate.

Firstly, the name immediately evokes a sense the south and Sicily in particular. Caponata is traditionally a large combination of ingredients tossed together and the most traditional of all is the Caponata di Melanzane, or Aubergine Caponata, Eggplant Caponata. But Sicilians certainly boast some of the best artichokes and most interesting artichoke dishes in Italy and they can easily replace the aubergine with the addition of tomato, onion, olives and capers, to make the artichoke equivalent of the traditional Caponata.

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Artichoke Lasagne

February 24th, 2010

Lasagne ai Carciofi

Making pasta is something that I took for granted as a child. In fact I almost found it a chore to help my mother as she rolled the pasta through the machine, sheet after sheet. It never seemed to stop because if you’re making pasta, you don’t just make some for one meal, but enough for a few dozen meals. And if you’re like my mum, you also make enough for the neighbours and to give to friends so the quantities were out of proportion for a young child.

I seem to remember it would always be on a Saturday afternoon that the table in the spare room would be cleared and dusted with flour. Wet cloths covered freshly kneaded pasta dough while it rested. I was called in to help when it came to the rolling, cutting and hanging. Broomsticks would be placed to rest horizontally between the table and chairs so the freshly cut pasta could be hung to dry. The one thing I do remember enjoying, apart from eating the pasta, was making my own pasta shapes from left over scraps of dough, a sort of maltalgliati.

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Artichoke Stuffed Squid

February 17th, 2010

Totani Ripieni ai Carciofi

The first time I heard about calamari with artichokes I thought it was a little strange. For me there didn’t seem to be a natural affinity between coastal food and this vegetable. Being predominantly surrounded by water and having artichokes growing in most of the country, this natural affinity is something I hadn’t seen until I went to the hilltop town of Perinaldo in Liguria.

This dish comes from Liguria and is the perfect light starter or by bumping up the portion size, could make a main meal. It goes well served with a fluffy, long grain rice. I played around with the styling of this dish for this post so you can choose whatever you feel appropriate.

Perinaldo boasts one of the only two Slowfood listed species of artichokes in Italy and most of the town has sea views so it makes sense that they have a traditional dish with seafood and artichokes. I will post some photos and write a little more about Perinaldo and the artichoke celebration/sagra I visited there, so stay tuned.

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Artichoke and Ricotta Pie

February 10th, 2010

Torta Rustica di Carciofi e Ricotta


I’m going to make a sweeping generalisation here and say that like most Italian migrants, I grew up with a wood fired oven in my parent’s backyard. Certainly, many of the people from the same villages as my family baked their own bread and would occasionally bring some around to our place as a little gift. It was always interesting to try bread made by other hands as it could be lighter, saltier, more dense, crispier or darker than the bread my parents would usually turn out.

Regular bread making would always happen in the shed at the very back of the garden. Most of the hard work of mixing and kneading by hand happened in the small hours of the morning while I was tucked away in bed. This was a good time to get the oven up to temperature, making most of the smoke before neighbours woke up and began hanging their washing out. By the time I was up and about there would be at least twenty loaves already baked and the neighbours would have already been handed a couple of loaves over the fence by my folks.

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Baked Sardines and Artichokes

February 5th, 2010

Sarde al Forno Con Carciofi

In an earlier post I mentioned a recent trip to Puglia in southern Italy where I met Aldo in his beautiful trattoria. He invited me back to have a night in his restaurant and celebrate with a full selection of artichoke dishes on his menu. I’m going to be heading down there in late April to help him out in the kitchen for a couple of days and try to record as many recipes as he throws at me.

This recipe comes from Puglia known for its its rich and fertile agricultural terrain,  producing the largest amount of olive oil and vegetables (including artichokes) in Italy.  It is also blessed with some of the most stunning and unspoiled coastline remaining in the country and so boasts a healthy presence of fish and seafood on menus but I’m not sure that this dish is in Aldo’s repertoire as he is not a coastal dweller.

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Artichoke Farinata

January 29th, 2010

Farinata ai Carciofi


There are somethings that easily get lost in translation so it’s better not to attempt to translate farinata. It is called different things in different places, such as Cecina or Torta di ceci in Tuscany but I will refer to it as Farinata as it is  most widespread in Liguria.

Farina is the Italian word for flour, and in this case it’s chickpea flour. Farinata closely resembles pizza and is usually eaten as stand up, casual finger food.

I first saw farinata on the Italian coastal stretch of the Cinque Terre in Liguria and it was love at first sight. You can walk between the five coastal towns and stop off for a serve of farinata at each if you really felt like it. This kind of behaviour might be a bit obsessive but it has been known to be done, just so one knows where to find one’s most preferred farinata on one’s next visit to Cinque Terre. (For my money it’s the upper most shop on the hill in Rio Maggiore).

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Artichoke Buckwheat Crepes

January 22nd, 2010

Crespelle di Saraceno con Crema di Patate e Carciofi

Location: Florence.

Time: 9pm.

Weather: Cold, wet and windy.

Mood: Tired and hungry.

Thoughts: Eat anywhere that is open.

In the Santa Croce area of Florence there are plenty of restaurants, bars and caffés to choose from but two days before Christmas, lots of them have sealed shutters making options pretty limited. The streets were vacant and quiet, and on a cold wet night all you really want to do is be inside as cozy as possible. Gauging a restaurant by peering through its window is a skill you either have or you don’t and it’s always an awkward feeling trying to back out of restaurant you have entered and then realise that maybe it’s not where you want to spend a few hours, especially if you have already been seated. Fortunately we stumbled upon Boccanegra which, even from across the road, with its wooden exterior and handsome signage appeared welcoming and warm. With a quick peek, it seemed that we could really have a nice relaxed dinner under a very homely candlelight, surrounded by an extensive wine collection sprawling through the two wooden and stone dining rooms, and alongside a hip Florentine clientele being served by groovy looking waitstaff.

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Artichoke Fly By in Florence

January 12th, 2010

Risotto in Florence


A quick stop in Florence. We arrived early in the morning and had a tight schedule for the following 36 hours. In eating terms, that’s two lunches and one dinner. Breakfast always seems to be a stand up coffee and croissant so they don’t count.We lived in Florence for a year a while back so navigation was not a problem in terms of finding the right places to hit for lunch.  The first stop was at Nerbone which is an institution in the central food markets (mercati centrale di San Lorenzo)of the city. Cheap, fast but you have to get in quick or be patient and wait for a cold, hard, metallic seat to free up.  You order cafeteria style, taking a tray from the counter to share a table with a mixture of locals who know where to get a quick, quality lunch, and curious tourists visiting the food markets for the first time.

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Artichokes in the Ghetto

January 3rd, 2010

Carciofi alla Giudea / Artichokes Jewish Style

Alla Giudea

Carciofi alla Giudea rolls off  the tongue a lot easier that Artichokes Jewish Style so I will refer to them by that name in this post.

Now if I had to name my all time favourite artichoke dish, this one would have to be in the top two or three to choose from. Even though I don’t have children, I reckon they’d be a hit with the kids. The leaves become golden and crunchy and are fun to eat, kind of like eating potato crisps. You can work your way around the crispy leaves of the artichoke until you reach the soft tender heart. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t loved these artichokes. They are absolutely unique and instil excitement and curiosity into the eating experience, (or maybe that’s just me).

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When In Rome, Eat Artichokes

December 30th, 2009

We start in Rome.

allaromana3

When in Roma, eat artichokes alla Romana or alla Giudea. You wont regret it.

Alice and I had a Chrismas holiday together with Alice’s brother, Chris. He’d never been to Italy before so we showed him around Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and Turin. I never get tired of going back to these places. There is always more to explore and discover, especially on a culinary level.

For our first lunch we were directed to Da Tonino, (Via del governo vecchio, 18, 00186 – Roma (RM) Italia Cell.333 5870779 )MAP
A hole in the wall kind of establishment which served good, honest and generous portions of flavoursome  food. In some respects, this first lunch of my holiday was the most memorable, even more than our Christmas lunch. I have simple tastes and I’m a total sucker for food without pretense. I do appreciate talented chefs experimenting with new fusion of flavours  and skillfully presenting dishes, but the simple, the rustic, the humble and the down to earth gets me much more excited.

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The Artichokes of San Erasmo

December 16th, 2009

Violetto di San Erasmo

treebkgrnd

I went to San Erasmo in the late Spring 2009 to check out the artichokes of the island. The island is a 30 minute ferry ride from Venice. It’s a pretty sleepy little place with no discernable tourist attractions or facilities. I took a walk around the island asking different artichoke growers about their local speciality and taking photos of their plantations.  Called Violetto di San Erasmo, this artichoke is legendary and has been grown on the island for a couple of centuries. Some plants on the island are over 100 years old and a plant can produce about 100 artichokes over the season. They are only one of two artichokes to be listed as a Slowfood Presidium. This means the growers on the island band together with Slowfood® to set the guidelines ensuring that the authenticity of this ancient and prized artichoke is maintained.

Violetto

The plant produces three different artichoke buds that are picked. First is the Castroere, which is a very small tender first shoot They are quite rare as every plant only produces about 2 or 3. They are highly prized and they sell for about €1.50 each. They are so tender they can be eaten raw and are preferred that way although they are sometimes fried. The name Castroere derives from word to castrate, so imagine castrating the young bud at around Easter and you have this artichoke.

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Artichoke Bruschetta

December 12th, 2009

Bruschetta con Carciofi

Let’s get one thing straight. Firstly Bruscetta is pronounced, /brusketa/ and not, /brusheta/. I just had to clear that up. Bruschetta is simply toasted or roasted bread, with garlic, olive oil and salt. That’s it. When you start adding anything on top of that it becomes, Bruschetta with …

bruschetta2

In this case I am posting two recipes for Bruschetta with artichokes. One is really easy and flexible which I think is pretty good and fuss free. The other is the very traditional Tuscan recipe. The first is completely dairy free, which I prefer, but the Tuscan one is great in it’s own way which I never refused to eat while I lived in Florence.

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Artichoke Carpaccio

December 10th, 2009

Carpaccio di Fondi

carpaccio di fondi

While I still have a few fondi left in the fridge, I thought I could get a quick carpaccio together. Carpaccio usually refers to thinly slice beef that is dressed with Parmiggiano shavings, olive oil and lemon juice.  In this recipe, it is the artichoke that is finely sliced and I’ve dressed it with lemon juice, olive oil, capers and shaving of a hard, matured goat cheese. This is an elegant starter which is easier than easy to prepare. People are easily impressed if you present them with a unique raw artichoke dish like this.

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Artichoke Bottoms

December 9th, 2009

Fondi di Carciofi alla Veneta

These are the artichokes you’ll find all over Venice. They are known as fondi and Venetians can’t get enough of them. Fondi is the plural of fondo which means ‘bottom’ or ‘base’. Seeing as though one would never really deal with a singular fondo, all you need to remember is the plural, fondi. They are quite exquisite and the way they prepare them in Venice is by far the easiest artichoke dish on this site.

Fondi alla Veneta

In Venice this is the artichoke of choice. You will see them at nearly every fruit and vegetable stall soaking in lemon water. They are all ready to go, no peeling, cleaning or anything is necessary. That’s one reason I love them. This is a dish you will find in all of the ciccetti bars and on most menus of Venetian restaurants.

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Artichokes in Venice

December 8th, 2009

Venezia

Artichokes ready for the chop.                                    Artichoke bottoms (fondi) sitting in lemon water

Artichokes ready for the chop. Artichoke bottoms (fondi) sitting in lemon water

I just got back from 2 weeks in Venice. This obsession with artichokes started in Venice where, in the most part, they don’t even worry about the leaves and go straight to the heart. Here they use the fondi (bases) of the artichoke. Some artichokes are left on the plant a little longer than usual just for this purpose. Although I’ve never seen a Californian artichoke in the flesh, I think they are probably suitable for this purpose too. The most typical recipe and traditional way the Venetians use these fondi is to simply boil them and dress them with olive oil garlic and parsley. They can be served hot, warm or cold. You will find them on most restaurant menus and also at cicchetti bars. Cicchetti are small portions of food, usually eaten standing at a bar anytime between breakfast and dinner. Cicchetti are similar to the Spanish Tapas and can be had as an entire meal or as a snack between meals.

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Zio Aldo’s Artichokes

November 18th, 2009

Osteria da Zio Aldo and his Fried Artichoke Recipe

Aldo's40

Last week I went to Puglia for what turned out to be a little misadventure. I went down for the San Ferdinando Fiera del Carciofo /Artichoke Fair. It turned out that there were no artichokes being cooked but only being promoted. I was pretty disappointed as it was a seven hour train ride to the other end of Italy from where I live. The train ride was not at all disappointing, it was stunning countryside and seaside and well worth it. I must say though, that  San Ferdinando was not what I thought it was going to be and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, anytime. I used the opportunity to meet a few locals who knew a few things about artichokes and one guy who is worth a mention is Zio Aldo. (more…)

Artichokes alla Napolitana

November 16th, 2009

Artichokes in Naples

This is the first Artichoke dish I found in Naples. It’s a side dish, which is very simple and full of flavour. All you need is a few ingredients you’re already likely to have in the fridge. The true Neapolitan recipe calls for green olives. The dish presents a lot better with green olives rather than the black, which I have used. Either way it’s a tasty treatment of the artichoke.

Carciofinapolitani25cm

It only take about 30 minutes from the time you start preparing to the time you’re devouring. They can also be served cold which makes them fantastic as an antipasto which you can prepare ahead of time. Read on for the recipe

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Baked Artichokes with Mozzarella and Spinach

November 13th, 2009

Barchette di Carciofi con Mozzarella e Spinaci

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Straight from the south of Italy, this is an awesome entree or side dish. Ideally served straight out of the oven and drizzled with a little olive oil. They are quite a pretty looking artichokes and the way they turn into little containers of tasty goodness is a fun feature. Here’s the recipe.

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Winter Artichoke Salad

November 12th, 2009

Insalata D’inverno

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When I shop at the markets I act a little suspiciously around the artichokes stalls. I stand next to older people, almost like a stalker, ready to pounce on them for a recipe. Overwhelmingly, when I do ask someone buying artichokes, how they are going to prepare them, they mostly say, ‘raw in a salad

So here’s a dish form Liguria which is quick, fresh, and healthy and uses all ingredients which you’ll find in season together.

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Calabrese Artichokes

November 8th, 2009

Carciofi alla Calabrese

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This is a side dish from my home region of Calabria. It’s fast, easy and and like most food in Calabria, incredibly tasty. A dish like this will show those of you who think artichokes are too much work just how easy and how quickly you can get great results in half an hour. Get ’em while they’re hot.

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Artichoke Stuffed Involtini

November 8th, 2009

Beef Involtini with Prosciutto & Artichokes  / Involtini di Manzo con i Carciofi

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When I tried this recipe for the first time I thought it was a bit light on artichokes. I will give you the traditional recipe and suggest a  way to up the artichoke pleasure. I had a few tries t this one before I could get it looking worthy of a photograph. Putting all these ingredients together is a pretty unbeatable combination. They can be prepared ahead of time and heated in the oven at the last minute before serving. Here’s the recipe

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To the artichoke lover

October 10th, 2009

Thanks for stopping and having a look. This blog will be dedicated to my scoping out of artichoke recipes, artichoke festivals over this coming Winter & Spring 2009 / 2010 season here in Italy. I’m living in Turin, in the north west of Italy.  This city boasts about a lot of things, among these is the claim that Turin has the largest outdoor fresh produce market in Europe called Porta Palazzo markets. They are quite enormous, but as the claim to fame is that they are the largest outdoor markets, I’m supposing that somewhere in Europe there is a larger and possibly more impressive indoor market. That aside, Porta Palazzo markets are a great place to shop and watch the seasons change over the 2 years I have lived here.

There is a covered section of the market dedicated to the local farmers. Here you’ll find the same faces showing up on most days to sell produce they picked earlier in the morning. They serve you with mud encrusted hands and, for some of the older folk, with hunched over postures. Unfortunately, there are no local farmers who bring artichokes to sell until very late in Spring(if at all), which means that until May I can only source artichokes from the main open air market. This main area is dedicated to produce from all over Italy, Europe and in some cases imported from Africa and South America. When I’m not out of Turin looking for artichokes and artichoke recipes, this is where I will buy artichokes for the following 5 to 6 months.

Now, Autumn is well under way and although farmers in some parts of the country have to wait til later in Spring 2010 to harvest from older plants, some other farmers, who planted earlier this year, will be collecting their first harvest around now. This means that from now til around the middle of May 2010, we should see artichokes on the market stalls.

Yesterday I went to do some shopping and got there way too late. All the sellers had packed up and the stalls were being packed down. As I walked through to see if I could buy a bargain from any remaining seller, I saw something that took my breath away. On the ground was a loads of  left over artichoke debris, bit and pieces, leaves and stems. This was the sign that got me motivated to start this blog the next day. From now til May or June 2010, this vegetable will follow me everywhere and I will follow it.

The Artichoke Blog ©