Fried Artichokes

I could live on these. Really. This is all I had for lunch on Sunday, with a slice of smokey mozzarella and a glass of lovely Sardinian beer. Bliss. In less than a month artichoke season will be over and somehow I will have to survive until the first stunted specimens re-appear in November.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of these before chopping them up, but I can tell you that they were gorgeous. I will next time I buy them, hopefully at the market on Thursday.

And it’s so easy to make them, although I admit that the stripping the leaves business is a bit of a pain, but it’s well worth it.

What you need for 3 and ½ people:

  • I had 3 massive romanesco artichokes, if they are smaller you’ll need at least 4
  • 1 lemon
  • around 225 gr. of your favourite flour - I use a mix of wholewheat and all-purpose
  • 1 small bottle or can of beer (the 33 cl. kind)
  • salt
  • oil for frying (I use EVO)

That’s all, really.

I chopped off the stem, leaving about 5 cm. on the “head” and stripped the hard, external leaves from the artichokes (you know when to stop when the leaves’s base it’s white rather than green or purple). I then chopped off the top of the remaining leaves, stripped what was left of the stem of the external “bark” and trimmed off any remaining green bits around the base of the artichokes (green means tough in artichoke language, so you really want to get rid of it). I cut each artichoke in half, then in quarters, removed carefully the choke inside (if they are really fresh there may be no choke at all) and trimmed off the thorny bits inside the heart. I then cut each quarter in twos or threes, (sometimes even in 4s - you eant each piece to be no thicker than 1 cm.) and tossed them in a bowl of cold water to which I had added the juice of one lemon.

At the end I stripped the stems which I had cut off first thing, cut them lengthwise and put them in the bowl with the rest. I made the batter with the sifted flour and a pinch of salt to which I added the (better if cold) beer little by little, mixing energetically with a fork.

 I drained well the artichokes and stirred them in the batter. At this stage you can happily leave them there for 30 minutes or so, best if in the fridge, until it’s time to fry them.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Use one piece of artichoke as a test and when the oil starts sizzling gently around it, you’ll know it’s time to put the others in. At some stage you may want to reduce the heat, but it may not be necessary. Just bear in mind that the artichokes need time to cook inside, roughly 5 to 7 minutes on one side and then a bit less on the other.

Fry them until golden and drain them on kitchen paper. Use the stems and any bits and pieces which are left in the batter to make some small pancakes. You may want to sprinkle them with a little salt but they are fine even without. Enjoy!


Carciofi Fritti

Un classico per me irrinunciabile e il mio fritto preferito in assoluto.

Ingredienti x 4:

  • 3 grossi carciofi romaneschi ( o 4 più piccoli)
  • 1 limone
  • circa 225 gr. di farina (io uso un misto di integrale e 0)
  • sale
  • 1 bottiglia o lattina di birra (meglio se fredda) da 33 cl.
  • olio per friggere (io uso EVO)

Ho pulito bene i carciofi eliminando le foglie dure, la parte esterna dei gambi e il “fieno” all’interno, quindi ho tagliato ogni quarto così ottenuto in due o tre (o quattro) pezzi, cercando di fare in modo che non fossero più spessi di 1 cm. e li ho messi a bagno in acqua acidulata con limone.

Ho preparato la pastella con la farina e un pizzico di sale, a cui ho aggiunto pian piano la birra, mescolando energicamente con una forchetta. Ho scolato bene i carciofi affettati e li ho versati nella pastella, mescolando in modo da ricoprirli tutti. A questo punto, volendo, si possono anche lasciare così per una mezz'oretta, meglio se in frigo.

Ho scaldato l'olio in una padella larga e ho fritto i carciofi fino a doratura completa. Deliziosi.

Bar Mercado Atarazanas: a taste of Malaga

 Markets have become a big thing in city centres nowadays. From Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel to Barcelona’s Mercat Santa Caterina, markets are becoming culinary centres whilst still preserving a unique memory of Spanish culture. They are probably the only spot in the city where local and foreign consumers can enjoy the fresh food that they are taking home that day.

 Opened from Monday to Saturday from 8 to 4pm, Malaga’s central market is a bustling and unique place. It won’t only be a shopping experience; you will find yourself going from stall to stall whilst listening to often-loud Andalucian rambling.

 Found in the heart of the market, Bar Mercado Atarazanas is becoming one of Malaga’s main tourist attractions. “Muy bueno”, all day-trippers agree. This peculiar bar with a special charm is as local as you can go: no bargaining, no skipping queues, great quality and with hardly any waiting time. From pulpo (octopus) to fried artichokes, your five senses will be immediately activated through its seasonal fish and vegetables.

 Expect to eat standing up, and I would personally avoid going on Fridays and Saturdays, as you will most likely be waiting a good 20 minutes to order.

 My all-time favourite: brocheta de gambas.

La Cucina Romana… My favourite, since I lived in Rome for quite a while. Originally, it was a simple food very much influenced by the Greek and Jewish cultures. During the times of the Renaissance, Rome became the centre of the haute cuisine, since some of the best chefs worked for the popes. The most famous was Bartolomeo Scappi who reached the Olympus with his cookbook Opera dell'arte del culinare, published in 1570. I chose here my favourite simple Roman dishes from bottom left clockwise 1) Carciofi alla guidia (Jewish style artichokes) - whole artichokes deep fried and filled with garlic and chilli peppers 2) pasta con bottarga (dried pressed mullet roe, sometimes called the Mediterranean caviar) 3) crostata di ricotta - a richly baked cheesecake made with ricotta and flavoured with lemons and Marsala wine 4) suppli - a small version of arancini, which is usually a fried risotto balls in breadcrumbs stuffed with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Il cibo e sempre buono a Roma quando si sa dove andare a mangiare. #cibo #rome #instafood #foodlover #ghetto #jewish #influence #amazingtaste #mipiaceromamoltissimo #piace #history #yummy #Italy #italianfood #instamoment #italygram #followme #mynextblogiscomingsoon @caraandco_magazine