Monday, May 28, 2012
I recently discovered a new blog (at least new to me) in a round about way. I got a very sweet email from someone in Connecticut who was headed to Rome on his honeymoon. He wanted to surprise his new wife with a food tour with me. “She's a cook, and has a blog” he explained, “So I think she’d really enjoy this.”
Of course, I immediately went to Jodi's blog: What’s Cooking Good Looking. It took all of my will power not to start leaving comments right and left (I didn’t want her to suspect anything and spoil the surprise) But that didn’t stop me from cooking from it almost immediately.
Of course my first instinct on this veggie friendly blog was to look at all the artichoke recipes. As we were nearing the end of artichoke season in Rome I was looking for some new ideas. And the recipe for roasted baby artichokes was just what I needed.
At the beginning of artichoke season in Lazio, the globes are huge, tender and round. These are the cimaroli, or “top” artichokes that are the first to form at the top of the plants. In restaurants I order them fried (alla giudea) and at home often make them alla romana. As the season progresses, and the artichokes begin to sprout from the side shoots, the artichokes get smaller, more pointy and slightly tougher. At this point I start using them in other dishes, like pastas and stews.
By the end of the season the chokes still delicious, but are getting pretty tiny. Very fussy to trim, they are mostly used for putting up under oil. Been there, done that and frankly I’d just as soon buy them already put up from a farmer in the market.
Somehow though, in Bari last weekend, I ended up with 2 kilos of tiny, perfect, purple and green beauties. And Jodi’s recipe for broiled mini artichokes was the answer of what to do for supper.
Jodi suggests topping them with garlic lemon aioli, which she makes by simply adding garlic and lemon to mayonnaise .
Inspired by Melissa’s brilliant mayo video in last week’s NYTimes, I went one step further. Yes. I made my own , adding fresh spring garlic and lemons.
While the entire dish seems very simple, the combination of slightly bitter, cheesy broiled artichokes with the luscious garlicky mayonnaise was - I’m not exaggerating here - one of the best things I’ve made in the last year.
So good in fact, that I’m about to start trimming another two kilos of those pesky artichokes for tonight’s dinner.
The up side (besides the yummy dinner)? My right arm is getting a really good workout from all that mayonnaise making. (can't quite say the same for my thighs, from all that mayonnaise eating)
Roasted Baby Artichokes with Garlic Mayonnaise
Sorry. No recipes here.
For the artichoke recipe go over and visit Jodi's blog here. You'll thank me.
And for the inspiration to whip up your own mayonnaise, watch Melissa's video. It's dangerously easy, as you'll see. So dangerous in fact, and so delicious, that you very well may end up cursing me as swimsuit season approaches and you find your self addicted to the stuff.