Finally after weeks and weeks of bearing with the cold, it’s finally springtime here in Rome. To me it is one of the best times to visit Rome when the temperature is not too cold and not too uncomfortably warm.
If you were here during these times, you’d probably see a lot of these for sale :
These are artichokes, or to be accurate, Carciofi Romaneschi. A speciality of Rome, these are different compared to regular artichokes because the petals are purple instead of green, they are very round and there are less thorny bits inside the buds.
One carciofo costs about an euro each and can be prepared in a variety of ways – such as, a frittata, pasta, risotto, alla romana or alla giudia like this one that I had at a Jewish restaurant.
How pretty! It looks so much like a flower doesn’t it?
Today, I’d like to show you a quick and simple way of enjoying them. I had three carciofi at hand and the first step is to clean them.
First you cut the stalk from the bud. The carciofi needs to be removed of a few layers of the petals outside as they are really tough and chewy. And then you cut the bud into quarters and remove the thorny bits inside. Cut also a layer from the stalk as seen in the picture above.
Oh! An important thing to note is that carciofi gets oxidized very easily. So it’s a good habit to rub some lemon on it as you clean it. You could also throw them in a bowl of lemon-water.
And when you are done, don’t be stunned to see a lot of peelings and whatnots. This is normal
Now sprinkle some regular flour on top of the cut carciofi.
And then dip them one by one in tempura batter and deep fry them in hot vegetable oil. I don’t remember which brand of batter I bought. It was a pre-packaged one, but you could make them from scratch.
And then when they are golden brown, they are ready to eat. And believe me, even if it looks rather unremarkable here, it’s really yummy!
Of course, if you’re like me, I’d always dip them with my favourite chili sauce