Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Steamed Artichokes, Sicilian Style

Thanks to my colleague and resident expert, Lynn, for this delicious addition to the artichoke saga!

Ciao Maryellen,

I, too just bought a "fascio" of carciofi. A group of things put together is a fascio!

I remember the first time my husband bought a fascio!! I was shocked . . . having no idea what to do with 24 artichokes, which is the normal number. I noticed a truck selling artichokes, and asked him to buy me "some". . . meaning about eight. Being a family of four, I figured I would steam them and have enough for two dinners. I asked him to go negotiate (no price was displayed) since even though I am fluent, I am immediately recognized as speaking with an accent and therefore not a local. He returned with this huge bundle of artichokes with their stems and leaves!! Usually when I buy them from my frutta and verdura vendor (the vegetable stand) they trim them down for me. Nevertheless, I became creative and utilized the largest number of artichokes I have even been presented with--making steamed carciofi (which I will give you the recipe for), pasta con carciofi, risotto con carciofi, frittata con carciofi!!

Here's the recipe for steamed artichokes, Sicilian style:

1. Cut off the stems, leaving about two inches (the part closest to the artichoke) . . . then cut this off and put aside. You will need to thinly trim off the outer layer to use along with the artichokes.
2. Wash and drain artichokes (gently open leaves, rinsing and then turn them upside down to drain, gently squeezing water out).
3. Cut garlic in tiny pieces. Open artichoke leaves and place a piece of garlic sporadically into the bottom of leaf. Do this to entire artichoke. You can also sprinkle in some fresh cut parsley.
4. Salt artichoke, again separating leaves so salt is spread around.
5. Utilize stems in the following way: Either slice them length-wise and put in bottom of large pot (pasta size) which has been drizzled with olive oil OR . . . slice into 1/4 inch wide/1 inch long pieces and fill in between artichoke leaves, so that every artichoke will have about 2-3 pieces of the stem inside.
6. Place artichokes stem part down in pot. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each artichoke.
7. Fill bottom of pot with about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water, so that they will slowly simmer. Bring to a slow boil, then lower, cover and simmer. You will need to keep an eye on artichokes and water level, as it will be necessary to add water when it gets low so that artichokes do not burn and stick.

Cooking time is approx 45 minutes . . . artichokes are ready when stem area is tender when pricked with a fork.

Have a good day . . . ciao for now, Lynn


At April 21, 2006 1:09 PM, Blogger Sicilian said...

My mother stuffs them with Italian bread crumbs and then steams them. My favorite way is to just steam them plain and eat them dipped in wine vinegar, a little olive oil, and some garlic. MMMMMMMMMMMMM.


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