I love vegetables of all types, but if I had to choose my favorite, definitely the artichoke would be up there. Artichokes have an amazing complex flavor, different from any other vegetable.
The artichoke is native to North Africa and southern Europe and has been cultivated in Italy since Roman times, and really, one has to wonder who the first person was who decided to try eating the “spring thistle” or artichoke. Carciofi grow in fields all across central and southern Italy in fields called carciofiae, very tender young artichokes are often eaten raw in salads, or preserved in oil, while larger artichokes are most often sauteed, stuffed, fried, or breaded.
— 12 Morellino artichokes (fresh and firm)
— 3 lemons
— 1 small bunch of mint
— 1 small bunch of parsley
— 100g Parmigiano Reggiano (shavings)
— Extra virgin olive oil
— Salt and pepper
- To start this simple fresh dish you will need to clean and prepare your artichoke, if you have never done this before here are a few simple tips.
First you need a large bowl of water with lemon juice inside (just cut one whole lemon and squeeze the juice in and the pulp) this will stop any oxidization of your artichokes and preventing them to change color). Peel the outer leaves until you feel the soft inner leaves known as the heart. Trim the tips and spikes, peel the base to clean and remove any outer tough skin, cut in half and scoop out the fury inner core. You can leave a part of the stem as it is eatable and tasty.
- After each artichoke is cleaned remember to put in the lemon water. You can wear gloves while cleaning as the artichokes can stain your skin a nice brown color.
- In a large bowl, cut one lemon and squeeze in the juice, take your artichokes and slice very very fine and mix with the lemon juice (again to stop the oxidization) chop some mint and parsley, drizzle in your Extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. With a sharp small knife, make your parmesan shavings nice and fine.
- To plate, simply spread your artichokes around and add your shavings on top and finnish with some extra olive oil, herbs and a lemon wedge.