Saturday, March 15, 2008

carciofi


Last night for dinner, I prepared the artichokes that I bought from the street market. The artichoke possesses many properties, including antioxidant effects, GI soothing qualities, cholesterol-lowering effects, and helps prevent damage to the liver. Who knew that this little green sphere could do so much good?

Every part is eaten. The artichokes were fresh and sold with the stems, so I cleaned and cut each stem to boil with the artichokes.

I sprinkled a mixture of bread crumbs, parmigiano reggiano, and garlic, making sure to reach each layer.

A small amount of salted water was added to a large pan and then I placed the stuffed artichoke inside.

In the meantime, I prepared some of the smaller artichokes without stuffing. I like to save the hearts and freeze them to make a pasta dish for another day.
It is perfectly OK to pluck and eat artichoke leaves with your fingers. I realize many already know, but to eat the leaves, pull off a leaf by grabbing the pointed end. The wider end has a thin layer of edible flesh, so scrape off the flesh and stuffing with your teeth. Repeat with each remaining leaf. The leaves contain bitter principles that are used in the preparation of aperitif liqueurs. This is considered a digestive aid. The edible portion of the leaf becomes larger as you get closer to the center of the artichoke, where the leaves will become almost white with purple tips just before you get to the very center. Soon you will reach the fuzzy choke; the part that many say is the inedible center portion, guarding the heart of the artichoke. If it is soft enough, there is no problem in eating it.

The heart of the artichoke (considered the best part) is then your reward. The flower contains a sweetener that enhances flavor perception, so whatever you happen to eat afterwards, you are sure to enjoy!

3 comments:

bleeding espresso said...

I have to admit I'm a spoiled "heart" kinda gal...scraping the pulp with my teeth really doesn't do much for me I'm afraid ;)

Jilli said...

I know... The locals call it here, passa tempo.

joe@italyville.com said...

My mom makes them just like that! Love them... lots and lots of layers I can see why they are called "passa tempo"