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Artichokes Al Judeo  

When Chef Michael Altenberg, chef owner of Campagnola in Evanston, IL, told the Chef Forum about a dish that he frequently makes called artichokes al judeo, we at ChefTalk.com were intrigued. This Italian dish, which according to Chef Altenberg, originates in the Jewish ghettos of Rome, is unique in that the artichokes are literally smashed with the side of a sturdy knife or the bottom of a heavy pan. The dish uses baby artichokes. Before crushing the artichokes, they must first be trimmed to remove the exterior leaves. The tops of the tender leaves that remain are also trimmed. The stem is left on the artichokes, but is peeled to remove tough fibers. The artichokes are smashed so that they cook faster.

The artichokes are sautéed in a liberal amount of olive oil over high heat. Accompanying the artichokes are sprigs of fresh rosemary, fresh bay leaves,and whole unpeeled garlic cloves. When the artichokes are well browned, tender, and incredibly aromatic, they are served piping hot. Chef Altenberg recommends serving them with lamb

ARTICHOKES AL JUDEO
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serves 3
6 baby artichokes
1 lemon, cut in half
2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed with the skins on (do not remove the skins)
extra virgin olive oil

Start off by removing any tough exterior leaves from the artichokes by manually pulling them off one by one. Once they are removed, trim the top of the artichoke. Then, using a paring knife, trim the darkened part where the artichoke was cut. Continuing with the paring knife, peel the stem. Rub the cut surfaces of the artichoke with lemon so that they do not discolor.


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Next, with a sturdy knife, clever, or heavy pan, forcefully flatten the artichoke.


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Heat a sauté pan over high heat until it is very hot. Add a shallow coating of olive oil. Add the artichokes. Let cook for several minutes.


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Add remaining ingredients to the pan.

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Continue cooking over high heat allowing everything to brown. Periodically, press on the ingredients while they are cooking, using a similarly shaped pan.


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The artichokes should take around 10 minutes to cook. If they start to burn, lower the heat and move the ingredients more frequently. They should smell wonderfully fragrant as they cook. The artichokes are done when they are well browned and their centers, or hearts, are tender (checked by either squeezing the artichoke or poking with a the tip of a paring knife). Serve while still very hot.

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