Italians love artichokes. They are prepared in many different styles, depending upon the region. This is a variation of my mother-in-law's recipe.
- 4 large artichokes
- 4 Tbs Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons
- Cut the stems off and the bottom ring of leaves.
- Cut off the points ends of the leaves. Remove any leaves that are purple rather than green.
- Wash the artichokes.
- Mix cheese, garlic, bread crumbs, and 2 Tbs of olive oil.
- Gently spread the artichoke leaves a little, so you can fill each layer with the bread crumb mixture. Work from the bottom-up.
- Place the artichokes in a pot with about 1-2 inches of water.
- Drizzle remaining olive oil and the juice of the lemons over the tops of the artichokes.
- Cover and steam 45 minutes. Check occasionally that the water has not completely evaporated.
- The artichokes are done when a leaf can be easily pulled off.
Note: I like to use my pasta pot to cook artichokes. The artichokes sit in the inner sleeve, not in the water.
Cynar is an Italian liqueur made from artichokes. This comes from the Latin name for the globe artichoke, Cynara scolymus. "Cynara" is the Latin word for "thistle." Roman mythology tells the story when Jupiter fell madly in love with Cynara, a beautiful mortal girl (I know, surprise, surprise). Cynara rejected Jupiter. To punish her, Jupiter decided to turned her into Cynara scolymus, the artichoke. The thistle portion of the artichoke is said to represent her blond hair.