Tortiera di Carciofi

Savoury Artichoke Cake

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This lovely artichoke recipe comes from Calabria. Artichokes have been cultivated in Sicily since the time of the Greeks, who called them kaktos. It is thought that they were introduced to France, along with other Italian ingredients, by Catherine de’ Medici. It is recorded in the journal of Pierre de L’Estoile on 19 June 1576, that at the wedding of two courtiers, Queen Catherine de’ Medici ‘ate so much that she thought she would die, and was very ill... They said it was from eating too many artichoke bottoms’. This is delicious served warm with a selection of salads.

Ingredients

  • 6 large artichokes
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1lemon, cut in half
  • 120 ml/8 tbsp olive oil
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp soft white breadcrumbs
  • 2garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 50 g/2 oz/½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 4 medium to large potatoes
  • 50 g/2 oz/ cup capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • sea salt

Method

  1. Before preparing the artichokes, fill a bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Remove the hard, outer leaves from the artichokes and cut off the stalks. Snip off the sharp tips with a pair of scissors. Halve the artichokes and cut out and discard the furry chokes. Rub all the pieces of artichoke with the cut lemon to prevent discoloration. Slice in half again, then slice each quarter into three segments. Drop the pieces of artichoke into the acidulated water and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Use a little of the olive oil to generously grease a 20cm/8in cake tin or pan that is at least 2cm/¾in deep. Add a quarter of the breadcrumbs to the tin. Turn and shake the tin to coat the sides and base with crumbs.

  3. Put the remaining breadcrumbs in a bowl and add the garlic, parsley and pecorino cheese. Add a pinch of salt and about 15ml/1 tbsp of the olive oil.

  4. Peel the potatoes and cut them in 2cm/¾in slices. Arrange a layer of potato slices on the base of the tin, taking care not to disturb the crumb lining. Sprinkle some of the capers and a little of the breadcrumbs over the potatoes.

  5. Drain and dry the artichokes and arrange a layer of them over the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients have been used, saving some oil to drizzle over the top. Press down to compress the layers. Fit a lid or heavy ovenproof plate inside the tin to keep the layers compressed. Bake for 50 minutes.
  6. Turn the tin upside down so the lid or plate is underneath. Stand it in a roasting pan. Reduce the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas 1. Bake for 30 minutes more.
  7. Remove the tin from the oven and leave it to stand for 10 minutes before inverting the cake on to a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.