Soon spring will be here and with it the season of fresh artichokes. I’m early (and lucky) this year because I brought fresh artichokes from Rome in my suitcase. Besides being the most photogenic vegetable I know, they tasted delicious cooked with garlic and mint.
artichoke bottoms alla romana with garlic and mint
1 lemon, halved
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
Leave artichoke stems attached. Cut off top with a serrated knife. Remove outer leaves until you reach pale yellow leaves with pale green tips.
Using a sharp knife cut remaining leaves flush with top of artichoke bottom. Pull out purple leaves and scoop out fuzzy choke with a melon ball cutter or a spoon.
Trim dark green fibrous parts of the base and sides of the artichoke with a sharp knife.
Rub cut surfaces with the lemon half. Cut the end of the stem and trim sides of stem down to pale inner core.
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt, then mix in the mint. Rub garlic paste into the cavities of the artichokes.
Combine water and oil in a heavy sauce pan. Stand artichokes upside down and sprinkle remaining salt over them. Simmer, covered, over low heat until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Transfer artichokes to a serving dish and reduce cooking liquid to about 1/3 cup. Pour over artichokes and serve warm or at room temperature.