A year ago Suzi and I were spending April in Sicily. Giant artichokes were on the menu in every restaurant. And you could buy them for about $0.30. Yeah, 30 cents. From the Time-Life Series Flavors of Italy, here’s an artichoke recipe from, not Sicily, but way up north: Piedmont.

In Italy, artichokes are ubiquitous. Usually, Suzi cooks whole artichokes and we spend a half hour eating each leaf with a dip of chipotle mayonnaise. Not quite Italian, but really good.  Try this rich recipe and you’ll understand why Italians can claim to do it better. And they do!


Artichokes with Egg and Lemon Sauce

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  •  8 very young globe artichokes
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons/2 oz/60 g butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons light/single cream
  • 3—4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)
  • Freshly ground white pepper

Preparation:

Cut off the stalks and remove the lower, outermost leaves of the artichokes. Use kitchen scissors to snip off the top quarter from each of the remaining leaves.

Preparing one artichoke at a time, slice into quarters from top bottom and, unless they are tiny artichoke buds, remove the hairy choke from the center.

Cut each quarter into 2-3 thin slices, dropping it immediately into a large bowl of cold water acidulated with 1 tablespoon lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the well-drained artichoke slices. Sprinkle with a little salt cook over moderate heat.

Stir and turn frequently, adding 1 tablespoon of hot water at intervals to keep them moist. They will probably take about 20 minutes to cook. Test to make sure they are tender.

Beat egg yolks, cream, and cold water lightly together in a small bowl with parsley (if using), salt, and pepper.

Sprinkle the remaining lemon j over the cooked artichokes and reduce the heat to very low.

Pour the mixture over the artichokes and stir. The egg mixture should tum creamy and thicken somewhat (this will only take about 2 minutes; do not allow eggs to scramble).

Serve at once.

Source: Time Life Flavors of Italy: Piedmont [1999]