The artichoke is one of Italy’s most treasured ingredients, and this famous thistle can be found in every region across the country prepared in a variety of ways. Young artichokes are eaten raw in salads, Rome is famous for their fried chokes, while in Venice, tiny purple artichokes are steamed or braised and eaten whole. To be honest, if I was forced to choose just one vegetable as my ultimate favorite it would have to be the artichoke. I’m not sure why I love this prickly, difficult to prepare vegetable so much, but I simply do, any way one can prepare them. The artichoke season unfortunately is a short one, and usually fresh artichokes grown in Italy can be found in markets from December until March. Each year though, it seems the season grows longer and I was very happy to find fresh artichokes at our local markets the past two weeks. We do grow artichokes in our garden, but unfortunately ours will not ripen until after we have left Italy this fall.
The fresh artichoke season is very limited however, so I use every opportunity to add artichokes into any meal that I can, and each season this twice cooked artichoke recipe has become the one I have been making most often. Prepared in this manner, the artichokes are highly addictive and when they are just hot out of the oven I simply squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of sea salt and start snacking.
Another option for serving these golden brown nuggets would be alongside a bowl of herb flavored mayonnaise for dipping. I prefer the medium sized Violetta Di Chioggia Artichokes myself, and I try to choose the smaller sized, firmer ones. These artichokes I find are easier to clean, and if small, I often do not even need to remove the center chokes. I also love the tiny carciofini, which I leave whole after I clean them, making them perfect for pasta or risotto dishes. In this recipe, I clean the artichokes, cut them in half and then cook them until they are fork tender. I then dip the tender morsels in an egg wash, roll them in a cheesy seasoned breadcrumb mixture and bake them until they are golden brown. Served hot with lemon and sea salt they make a great side dish, or even an appetizer.
Deborah Mele Revised 2019
- 12 Medium Artichokes, Cleaned & Cut In Half (See How To Clean An Artichoke)
- 1 Half Lemon
- 1 Cup White Wine
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled.
For The Breading:
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1 1/2 Cups Homemade Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- Zest from 1 Lemon
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- Lemon Wedges
- Sea Salt
- In a large pot, place in the white wine, lemon half, olive oil, and garlic cloves, then add the artichoke halves and add enough water to just cover.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
- Drain and cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Beat together the two eggs and milk in a small bowl.
- Mix together the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, zest, parsley, and seasonings in another bowl.
- Cover a large sided baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread the olive oil on top.
- Dip each artichoke half first in the egg mixture, then roll in the crumb mixture to cover.
- Line the artichokes side by side on your prepared baking sheet and continue in this manner until they are all breaded.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, turn over and then bake another 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and arrange on a platter with the lemon wedges.
- Sprinkle with a little sea salt and serve hot.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 3 chokes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 759Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 1147mgCarbohydrates: 84gFiber: 25gSugar: 9gProtein: 25g