Carciofi al Vapore con Limone, Menta e Pomodori Secchi
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Artichokes! Big, beautiful and brilliant in so many ways- yet sadly misunderstood and indeed abused. I decided to put that straight this evening and give them the treatment they rightly deserve. I for one do not like, nor do I understand, the strange concept of having to dip artichoke leaves into any kind of sauce- or heavens forbid, mayonnaise! No, that is nothing that we do back home in Sicily!
I like traditions, I like to break traditions and I am always keen to try something new and different. With that in mind, I came up with this preparation for artichokes, which offers the best of both worlds- and it is probably a lot easier and a lot yummier than you think!
I cut away the stalk and the base of the artichoke (see my previous post) and rubbed them with lemon immediately with lemon to avoid discoloring. I then trimmed the fibrous, tough edges from the tops of the leaves using a pair of scissors and rubbed those with lemon too.
Next, I fanned out the leaves and sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper. I then finely chopped some parsley, mint and chives and thinly sliced some garlic and lemon zest- these were to be my flavorings. I spread these ingredients out evenly between the leaves of the artichoke and then popped it into a saucepan, on a steam rack, with the lid on, for 45 minutes. Amazingly- that is all of the work done there!
After 45 minutes, you should be able to easily pull the leaves away and the artichoke should be tender and succulent. Now add the remaining mint, chives and lemon, along with some finely shredded sun-dried tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and a little freshly squeezed lemon juice enjoy with a nice chilled glass of Verdicchio. Buon apetito!