Saturday 21 March 2015

Roman Spring
Sometimes I dream in Italian

Claudio's Stall at
Campo de Fiori'

When in Rome in early Spring,
do as the Romans do:
Eat artichokes,
any which way
you can find them prepared

The Artist at Work
Claudio's Stall
Campo de' Fiori

Ada Boni's classic cookbook
- "Il Talismano della Cucina" -
offers almost four dozen recipes with artichokes,
among them "Carciofi fritti alla Giudia",
whole artichokes fried to look like giant flowers.

The outer leaves are fried to a lovely crunchiness,
while the protected inner core is cooked to perfect succulence.
Together, they taste like Manna from Heaven.

Ada Boni's "Carciofi alla Giudia"
recipe reads like a suspense story,
great for entertainment value,
but better not tried at home.

And why should you?
Via Ottaviana is lined with restaurants
specializing in Roman-Jewish cuisine.
They serve this Jewish-style delicacy
fried to perfection,
without you slaving over a hot frying pot.

Besides, in Italy,
the outdoor markets or your greengrocer
offer a wide variety of artichokes,
a special one for each recipe ever invented
- and cleaned and prepared, ready to cook -
so you start already with a distinct disadvantage
when trying to replicate Roman recipes abroad.

Still, there is a classic Roman artichoke dish,
fairly easy to prepare if someone else
has cleaned the artichokes for you:

Carciofi nel Tegame alla Romana
Artichokes ready to be cooked
Roman style, in a saucepan

My Rome
at Rome's Campo de' Fiori
Market and the nearby
Via Ottaviana in March 2009

Images and text © by Merisi


  1. I have heard about that Roman-Jewish artichoke dish, but never had it. Thanks for these unusual shots.

    1. Artichoke fried the Roman-Jewish way is out of this world. Those crispy outer leaves, all edible, down to the soft core, I want to jump onto a plane and fly right down .... ;-)

  2. I have so much to learn abt artichokes! Post is fascinating!

    1. Thank you! Romans have so many ways with artichokes, it seems like an entirely different vegetable altogether.

  3. Lovely lovely Rome and artichokes are really nice to eat, I love it!
    Have a happy weekend, take care...

    1. I could not agree more, on both counts! :-)
      Wishing you a wonderful week,

  4. And now you have me hungry!

    1. We should all meet in Rome and taste all those artichoke dishes! ;-)

  5. Oh ... I miss Rome. I wonder if I dream of Italy and don't remember, because then I'd want to just stay in bed! OK, I'm checking the farmers' market tomorrow for some carciofi!

    1. Hope you found some delicious artichokes (should not be a problem in your part of the world, should it?)! I sometimes mix the languages. Trying desperately to find a word in German and all I can remember is the Italian one, not even the English translation. ;-)

  6. I long to buy some and learn to properly prepare them.

    1. See, I have the recipes and know how they should taste, but finding artichokes as fresh and in so many varieties as in Rome, an impossible task around here.

  7. A beautiful post, photos are amazing. I remember being at my cousins in Italy and she did these for me. Delicious.


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