Whole Artichokes Braised Roman Style

Carciofi alla Romana

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These artichokes are striking. Cooked and served whole, stems still attached, they are entirely edible as all the tough parts have been removed. The technique for trimming them, which is described and illustrated, is simple and should take 5 minutes per artichoke. Serve these artichokes either as a vegetable side dish or an appetizer.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 6 to 8 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ΒΌ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Halve the lemon. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon into a medium bowl and fill the bowl halfway with cold water. Trim the artichokes as described but do not cut offx the stems. Leave each artichoke whole, trimming the stem while it is still attached. Put the artichokes in the bowl of lemon water to prevent them from discoloring.
  2. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop enough of the parsley leaves to measure 2 tablespoons. Finely chop the mint. Mix the herbs and garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the artichokes. Rub each artichoke with the herb mixture, both inside and out.
  3. Pour the olive oil into a heavy-bottomed braising pan and add enough water to come Β½ inch up the side of the pan. Place the artichokes in the pan with the stems pointing up. If the stems are taller than the sides of the pan, trim them so that the lid will fit snugly. Place the pan over medium heat, cover, and cook until the artichokes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes once the water begins simmering.
  4. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook until all the water is evaporated and the tops of the leaves are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Some people serve the artichokes warm, but I prefer them at room temperature.

Note

The artichokes can be prepared several hours ahead of time and kept in the pan. Once refrigerated, they will not taste as fresh.