Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
The namesake for this recipe, a mountain region of Ascoli Piceno is situated north of Rome. Artichokes have been enjoyed by farmers and nobles for centuries – well, millennia! This recipe is easy, unique and delicious. It preserves and highlights the natural flavor of the artichoke.
The following recipe’s origin has disappeared in time. Yes, it is that old!
- 3 medium to large artichokes
- 2 garlic cloves
- Olive Oil
1. Prepare the artichokes. Lay the flower bud (artichokes are the unopened flowers of the thistle plant - cardoons) on its side and cut off the top half inch. Using scissors, snip off the sharp points of each of the outer hard, green petal-shaped bracts. Use your thumbs to “open” up the flower bracts – you want to loosen up the interior. Cook the artichokes immediately after cutting, as they will discolor.
If you want to serve artichoke halves, cut them now. They will fall apart after cooking.
2. Set the artichokes topside up, stem end down, in the pot. Cover them with water. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water.
3. Bring the pot to a boil, turn the temperature down to medium and simmer the artichokes for 25-30 minutes (halved artichokes will cook faster).
The artichokes are done when a knife or skewer easily slides into the base (texture is like a cooked potato). Drain the artichokes and place them in a serving bowl.
4. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the sliced garlic and salt to taste. Heat until the garlic is fragrant – do not burn or brown the garlic! Drizzle the hot oil over the artichoke tops. Stud the garlic pieces into the leaves. The garlic is a garnish. You can eat it - but it is strong!
*Modern twist: Try adding soy sauce to the oil instead of salt. They didn’t have soy sauce in Ascoli Piceno, but it really enhances the taste of the artichoke!
Image Courtesy: Flickr