My love for this vegetable is immense.
I love their distinct flavor, their special texture and also the fact that they are not too easy to "handle".
You have to do some work if you want to enjoy them and in that they're just like life. :)
Every time I'm back to Puglia, the Italian region where I grew up and where they are massively grown, I have an envy attack.
Last time I went there I almost turned as green as an artichoke when I saw my favourite, thornless carciofi costing just 3 euros for 7 pieces at the market, grrrrrrrr!!!
Why are they so expensive here in Holland and, most of all, often old and sloppy???
Anyway, back to the preparation of this wonderful vegetable. Cleaning it is a lot work (see photos and recipe) and you eliminate quite a lot of this amazing flower, as I often hear during my cooking workshops when I show how to do it.
So what? What you have after all that work is something totally DELICIOUS, so definitely worth the hassle!
And you can use it for a wonderful frittata just like I do.
If you don't know how to clean artichokes you can watch my video.
FRITTATA DI CARCIOFI (artichoke frittata)
6-8 small artichokes
50 g grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
a bunch of flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
a splash of milk or cream
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven at 180°C.
Clean the artichokes by removing the stems (which you can peel and use too like I did for this frittata! See TIP at the end of the recipe) then the hard, outer leaves (see how I do it in this video).
Place the artichokes in a bowl with cold water and a little lemon juice or vinegar so that they don't get dark. Leave them in their "bath" for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile lightly beat the eggs with a dash of milk or cream, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Cut the artichokes into thin slices and fry them in olive oil together with the crushed garlic cloves. They usually tend to get too dry so add a little hot water from time to time and let them gently cook until soft. Season with finely chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Lay the artichokes in a baking dish lined with baking parchment.
Add the egg mixture and spread everything evenly inside the dish.
Bake the frittata in the oven for about 20 minutes or until it feels firm under your fingers and becomes golden brown.
Leave to cool a bit and serve lukewarm or at room temperature.
TIP: you can also eat the artichoke stems. First you have to trim the harder part around them and then put them in lemony water like the rest of the artichokes. After that you can stew or fry them together with the artichokes.