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Carciofi alla parmigiana

Artichoke Parmesan
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Antipasto, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Campania, Italian
Keyword: baked, fried, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo 2 lbs artichokes preferably of the "baby" variety
  • 3-4 3-4 eggs beaten
  • Flour q.b.
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 whole lemon
  • Olive oil for frying

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1-2 1-2 shallots finely chopped
  • 100g 3-1/2 oz prosciutto finely chopped
  • 1 large jar tomato passata, or 1 large can of tomatoes, milled
  • Salt
  • A basil leaf or two optional

To assemble and bake the dish:

  • 1 ball of mozzarella sliced
  • freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese q.b.

Instructions

Step 1: Fry the Artichokes

  • Trim the artichokes of its outer leaves and (if using larger artichokes) their fibrous cores (often called the "choke"), rubbing them all over with a halved lemon as you go.
  • Parboil the artichokes in salted water for just 3 minutes or so, then drain them and let them cool.
  • Cut the artichokes into thin wedges, tossing the wedges as you cut them immediately into a large bowl of water, which you will have acidulated with the lemon you used for rubbing the artichokes.
  • Drain and pat the artichoke wedges perfectly dry. Toss them in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, then immerse them into the beaten egg.
  • Shallow fry the artichoke wedges in olive oil over moderate heat, until they are golden brown on all sides. Make sure to space the wedges so they brown well; proceed in batches if you need to. Drain the fried wedges on paper towels as soon as they're done. Set aside.

Make the tomato sauce

  • Sauté the shallot and minced prosciutto in olive oil in a saucepan over gentle heat, until the shallot is perfectly tender. Add the tomato, along with a good pinch of salt, and raise the heat slightly so that the tomato simmers gently. Continue simmering until you have a nice sauce-y but still fairly loose consistency. If using the basil, add it a few minutes before the sauce is done. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Assemble and bake the dish

  • Take a baking dish (or individual dishes as pictured, if you prefer). Line the bottom with a thin coating of the sauce, then arrange a single layer of artichoke wedges. Top with a few slices of mozzarella, nap them with the sauce, then sprinkle generously with the grated cheese.
  • Repeat until you've used up all your ingredients, finishing by napping the last layer of artichoke with the sauce, then a generous sprinkling of grated cheese. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  • Bake the dish(es) in a hot (200C/400F) oven for a good 20-30 minutes, until the dish is piping hot and golden brown on top.
  • Let cool for at least a few minutes before serving. Carciofi alla parmigiana are at their best just slightly warm or at room temperature.