Posted by: lisetta | January 3, 2010


Another great thing about eating in Italy is that you cant help but be well aware of what’s in season. While in Salento earlier this week, farmers dotted the landscape with small trucks full of finocchi (fennel) and cicoria (chickory). Here in the north we’re eating carciofi (artichokes) from Liguria.

This fabulous photo of a Ligurian artichoke was taken from

In the past week, I’ve eaten artichokes four ways:

  • sliced thinly, raw, with shaved parmigiano, olive oil and vinegar
  • sauteed, halved, in oil and garlic, sprinkled with parmigiano and parsley
  • sauteed, thinly sliced, with garlic and oil
  • roasted with potatoes, in a sort of terrine, with bread crumbs, oil and parmigiano

Each preparation brings out the nuanced flavors in interesting ways. Again, I’m amazed by the variety and simplicity of la cucina italiana. How is it that every time I visit, I’m struck by the most simple truths?

The secret to preparing artichokes, as told by both Carlo’s aunt and Carla, is that, as you clean them, you leave them sit in a bowl of water and lemon juice, supposedly to help them retain their color. Hmm.

I cannot recall the last time I bought and cleaned an artichoke, and wonder if I’d make the effort to find and buy them upon my return? Trader Joe’s frozen artichokes work well in other dishes; why wouldn’t they work as a contorno?



  1. Are you in Italy now? Lucky you. Hope you’re having a wonderful trip and eating lots of those artichokes. I love them raw in salads like you had them.

  2. i love artichokes too! remember how Helen would fix them? stuffed with buttery garlic bread crumbs. YUM when are you coming home?

  3. I’m coming back to the States on Saturday the 9th, with a suitcase full of goodies. If you make it to Philadelphia in the next month or so, I’ll share. 🙂

  4. Ciao Lisetta, your blog is great, the recipes are simplistic and beautifully italian in every way. I was turned on to the site via Ann Prospero from NC. She’s added my own blog, giustogusto, to her blog roll and i was hoping you may do the same if you enjoy it. Molto Brava e Mille Grazie

    Paolo Tuorto

  5. Check the flight rules newly in force fr security for international flights. news says regulations are delaying flights and making long lines for security check in folks are in line and missing flights.

    Are artichokes grown in Philadelphia region???


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