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Artichokes alla Romana

The appetizer combo for lunch the day we cooked at The River Café was Artichokes alla Romana served with greens, fresh mozzarella, and bruschetta. The artichokes were boiled with fresh, flavorful herbs and garlic, then baked until they were crispy.

Serves 4 to 6

12 small or 6 large globe artichokes

250 milliliters olive oil

For the stuffing:

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with sea salt

6 tablespoons olive oil

coarsely ground black pepper

1½ lemons, quartered

1. For the stuffing, mix all the ingredients together and season well. Press the mixture into the center of each artichoke.

2. Pour the olive oil into into a heavy stainless-steel saucepan large enough to contain all the artichokes. Place the artichokes, stuffed side down, jammed together so they stay upright. Scatter any excess stuffing over the top. Add enough water to come ⅓ of the way up the globes, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper, place the lid on top, and cook gently for about 30 minutes until the water has evaporated and the artichokes have begun to brown at the bottom. The timing will depend on the size and freshness of the artichokes. Test for tenderness using a sharp pointed knife. You may need to add more water and cook for longer. Ideally, the result should be tender artichokes that have begun to caramelize in the oil.

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