From "king of the garden" to "king of the table". In Rome the artichoke, however you cook it, is a serious matter. Two recipes of the Capitoline gastronomic tradition demonstrate this, in which this vegetable is the absolute protagonist
In Rome on artichoke is a serious matter, a basic ingredient of traditional gastronomy who is elevated from "king of the garden" to "king of the table". But it is more good cooked alla giudia or alla romana? This question could be followed by a debate by those who never run out, also because tastes are subjective and there is little to discuss about the subjectivity of taste. Better, then, to taste them and let the palate decide.
A crunchy peel, a soft heart, a bitterish tip that evolves into sweetness. All adjusted with a pinch of salt. The essence of this dish is enclosed in hairpin bends of small contradictions that make it unique. Artichokes – romaneschi of course, also called violets or cimaroli – oil, water, lemon, salt and black pepper. These few ingredients are enough to transform a vegetable into a delicacy. To start preparing them you have to eliminate the outer leaves until you get to the most tender ones. Then incise with a small knife, proceeding in a spiral, until the artichoke has a rounded shape, similar to a rose. Remove the most leathery part of the stem and the beard in the center of the flower. After cleaning, you must dip the artichokes, for about ten minutes, in water and lemon to prevent it from blackening. Once drained you have to bang them head to head down on the table to make them open as much as possible. After heating the oil (it must not be boiling but at a temperature of 140 ° / 150 °) soak them for 10/15 minutes, taking care to don't make them too soft. Remove them from the oil and arrange them upside down on a tray until they have lost the excess oil. After further opening the flower with a fork and salting them, make them pass again in the oil, a little warmer than before, to fry them permanently. The trick to make them crunchy? A splash of water during cooking, but be careful not to burn yourself. Served hot they are irresistible.
Artichokes alla Romana
Roman artichokes are far from contradictory, but unsettling, as they contain a pleasant surprise. Only the ingredients of the previous recipe are added garlic, parsley and mint (but they will be stewed instead of fried). The cleaning process is the same as before. Chop the mint, the garlic and the parsley, put the mixture in a bowl, salt it, pepper it and add two or three spoons of oil. Open the artichokes a little with a spoon and fill them with minced flavors, close them well and place them, upside down, in a pan with high edges, making sure that the artichokes are very close to each other and you don't make room. Pour a glass of water and a half of oil, cover them with a lid or with parchment paper and leave stew on low heat for 45 minutes. When the fork sinks gently into the artichoke, it will mean that you can serve them on the table.
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