Dining

Cent ‘Anni: Historical data suggests that the artichoke could have been domesticated in Southern Italy; Sicily in particular.

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Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

My father says that when he was growing up in Calabria, they simply picked the artichokes and ate them raw.  I don’t know about that, but he showed me how easy it is to grow them in my garden.

I’m not big on stuffing artichokes with a lot of fattening ingredients.  I simply like to boil the artichokes in water and seasoning.  I snack on them all day, and they fill me up.

When I have a party, especially on my outdoor patio, I like to scatter the cooked artichokes around my table for decoration.  My guests are surprised when they find out my beautiful centerpieces are indeed edible!

Lucia, I know you can’t get enough of these artichokes.  This recipe is for you!

Artichokes a la Lucia

Ingredients

2 whole artichokes

8 cups of cold water

1/2 cup white wine

10 garlic cloves (I like a ton of garlic)

1 yellow onion, peeled and cut in half

Handful of fresh Italian parsley

6 bay leaves

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 teaspoons of dry chicken bouillon or 8 chicken bouillon cubes

Melted butter, for dipping (optional)

Grated Parmesan cheese, for dipping (optional)

Directions

Wash artichokes under cold water. Cut off the top inch of the artichoke and the stems close to the base. Pull off the lower petals that are small and tough..

Fill a large saucepan with water and add the artichokes (bottoms up), wine, garlic, onions, parsley, bay leaves and olive oil. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Add the chicken seasoning.  Cover and simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes.

To eat, pull off a leaf and scrape the meat off the tender end with your front teeth. I like to dip the ends in a little melted butter and Parmesan cheese.  When you reach the center of the artichoke, you will see a cone of prickly leaves; remove  these, and scrape away the thistle fuzz covering the artichoke heart. The heart is the meatiest part of the artichoke (my favorite). Steamed artichokes may be served hot or cold.

Recipe by Maria Desiderata Montana

Maria Desiderata Montana is an award-winning food and wine journalist, editor, and published author based in San Diego. She gained an appreciation of European cuisine from her parents, who were born and raised in Calabria, Italy. Visit her website at www.sandiegofoodfinds.com.

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