Roman Braised Artichokes
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 8 globe artichokes, stalks trimmed
- 10 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 large handful of mint leaves
- Pared rind of 1 unwaxed lemon, chopped finely
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 Tablespoons dry white wine, plus more as needed
- 1/3 Cup olive oil
- 1 Cup water
This delicious way of serving artichokes is typical of the cooking style of Rome, with plenty of strong, robust flavours such as garlic, lemon, and mint. I learned about taming artichokes from Italia and still enjoy the lengthy preparation of this magnificent vegetable almost as much as I enjoy eating it. Take your time over this as you don’t want to leave any of the sharp ends on the leaves or even a small amount of the hairy choke. You might be shocked by how much waste is involved, but you must be ruthless.
Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in the lemon juice. To prepare the artichokes, carefully remove and discard all of the external hard leaves, then trim the internal leaves. Scoop out and discard the hairy choke in the center of each artichoke using a teaspoon. Put each artichoke in the acidulated water as soon as it is prepared to prevent discoloring.
Remove the artichokes from the acidulated water and stand them upright in a large saucepan. Put a few slices of garlic inside of each one, then tuck the mint leaves and lemon rind among the artichokes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour in the wine, oil, and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer gently, basting the artichokes occasionally and adding more wine or water if necessary, until they are almost tender all the way through, for 30 minutes.
Turn the artichokes on their sides and cook until soft, about 15 more minutes. Serve hot or cold with some juices from the pan spooned over the top.