ROMAN STYLE ARTICHOKES
2 tbsp olives, Taggiasche (from Liguria) or Gaeta (a small island off of Naples), rinsed
1 tablespoon capers (salted or in brine), rinsed
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled if you like
4 tbsp olive oil
How to clean the artichokes
First you need to discard the stem and all the dark, tough outer leaves which are inedible. Begin by bending back each leaf, pulling it down towards the base and snapping it off just before the paler end of the leaf which is tender and delicious.
As you get deeper into the artichoke you will see the leaves are paler, pinkish white and the point at which you snap the leaf gets higher and higher from the base. Keep pulling off leaves until you have exposed a central core of leaves that are only green at the very tip.
Slice an inch off the top of the central core and rub the cut edge of the artichoke with half a lemon to stop it from discolouring.
Now, you cut the artichoke in half.
In the centre of the core, you will notice very small leaves with prickly tips and the fuzzy ‘choke’. Using a knife with a round tip gently scrape out these little leaves but be careful not to damage the tender base.
When you finish with the artichokes, put them in a bowl with cold water and the juice of half a lemon.
How to cook them
Put the oil in a pan and sauté the garlic. When it is golden, discard the garlic and add the artichokes. Cover with a lid and add a few tablespoons of water. After 10 minutes, add olives and capers. The cooking time is about 30 minutes. Test an artichoke with a fork: when it is nice and soft it is ready.
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