If you've been following me on Instagram you probably noticed that we had a mini baby-moon in Rome earlier this month.
This trip was everything we hoped for - just Guy and me alone for the weekend, in the most romantic city in the world, eating fantastic food and strolling around historic streets and monuments.
One would probably expect that when a food blogger is back from Italy she would want to share pasta, gelato or pizza recipes, right? But actually I came back from Rome with one very unexpected obsession (or maybe it's actually a pregnancy craving?) - ARTICHOKES!
I'm telling you - when cooked properly this beautiful vegetable is absolutely heaven on a plate!
This recipe is a simple version of a favorite Roman dish that you can find in every restaurant in the city (when in season). The only tricky part is cleaning your artichokes, but I trust you to overcome this obstacle as I did.
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Rinse and the herbs and pet them dry. Remove the stems and use only the leaves to make a herb mixture. If you have a mortar and pestle, use it to pound the fresh herbs together along with garlic. If not, chop everything thinly using a knife and mix it together. Place the mixture aside.
Fill a large bowl with water, squeeze the lemons into it and place the lemons halves in the bowl (this will be used in order to maintain the artichokes' color).
Clean the artichokes down to the heart - first, cut the top of the artichoke off. Continue by pulling off the leaves, until you reach the fine yellow-purple leaves in the center. Using a small knife or a sharp vegetable peeler, trim away any remaining tough outer leaves and the fibrous outer layer around the stem (important in order to avoid bitterness). Chop off the bottom part of the stem. Using a teaspoon or a cookie scoop, take out the hairy part in the center of the artichoke's heart.
Transfer the cleaned artichokes to the bowl of lemon water as you work.
Mix the artichoke with the herbs and make sure you really rub it into the heart.
Add the olive oil and water to a pot. Arrange the artichokes in the pot and season with salt and pepper. If you have any remaining herbs, chopped or whole, add them to the pot as well.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover the pot and reduce to a soft simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, until tender.
Remove the artichokes into a serving plate with some cooking liquid. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
It is important to trim away any remaining tough outer leaves and the fibrous outer layer around the stem, in order to avoid bitterness.
You can transfer the artichoke and cooking juices into a sterilized glass jar and store it in the fridge.