How to Clean and Trim Artichokes
Learn how to trim and clean artichokes with Mamma Giuliana in her newest video tip. Whatever your recipe, follow these simple instructions and your artichokes will be prepped and ready to go in no time!
Artichokes are one of the great pleasures of Roman springtime and are used in many dishes all over Italy. The most common ways to eat artichokes in Rome are alla romana (stuffed with wild mint, parsley, and garlic and braised until soft) or alla giudia (deep-fried whole until the leaves become crispy), but they can also be thrown into pasta dishes, battered and fried like tempura, or even thinly sliced and eaten raw with salty slivers of sharp parmesan.
However you plan to use your artichokes, the first step is to clean and prepare them. This means removing the hard outer leaves and exterior so you are left with the tender, delicious hearts and stems (the stems are edible and many Romans profess they are the best, most flavorful, part!). Mamma Giuliana takes you slowly through the procedure, explaining how to trim the artichokes in the quickest, easiest way.
You will need a bowl of cold water, a couple of lemons, a small sharp knife and, importantly, some gloves to prevent your hands from turning black. Cut a lemon into quarters, squeeze the juice of two quarters into the water and place the squeezed pieces into the water (without the lemon juice the peeled artichokes start to turn black due to oxidization).
Trim the stem leaving about 6cm of length then use your hands to rip off the hard, prickly, outer leaves until you reach the layer of pale, yellow, tender leaves beneath.
Use a sharp knife to cut the top of the artichoke at an angle all the way around, then slice horizontally across the top.
Now, use the knife to peel the hard area around the base of the stem and remove the stringy, tough surface of the stem itself. Remove any other green, hard areas around the base, the artichoke should now look like a very pretty rose.
Rub the artichoke all over with one of the remaining lemon quarters and then put it into the bowl of lemony water while you prepare the rest, and until they are ready to be cooked.