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Food and Recipes

Artichokes in Batter

Local restaurants on the Italian side of the Riviera are celebrating the artichoke with a number of special menus to enjoy. We have chosen to feature a particular recipe that will have you cooking this time and time again. It is great for starters or during an aperitif.

About the artichoke: The artichoke is an incredible and unusual spiky leafed little thistle with great health benefits. They aid on protecting against various forms of cancer, strengthening of the immune system, lowering cholesterol and protect against diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart attack, and strokes.

Artichokes are reputed to be a great source to assist detoxifying the body and improving the health of the liver and aiding in digestive issues like indigestion, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea. It can also reduce blood pressure, eliminate hangovers, and stimulate urination. So the artichoke really is quite a food jewel and worthy of the superfood title especially with it's high magnesium content. And the big news... low in calories, only 47 for 100g! (This recipe my have a little more but... we all deserve good things in our lives!)

Lets cook:

Ingredients:
15 Small Artichokes
1 Cup Plain Flour
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano Cheese
4 Cloves Garlic finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Freshly chopped mint
1 Cup Water
Salt
Frying oil

Method:

1. Clean the artichokes by removing the harder outer leaves, trim and unpeel the stem. Cut the top part of the leaves as they may have thorns. The leaves that remain should be pale green.

2. Wash and drain the artichokes well.

3. Cut each artichoke in half and put in a bowl with cold water to avoid them turning dark.

4. For the batter mix, put into a bowl the flour, eggs, a pinch of salt, garlic, mint, cheese and water and mix well.

5. Dip the pieces of artichoke in the batter and fry in hot oil.

6. Keep turning the artichokes round until they are golden brown.

7. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve immediately.

These can be enjoyed on their own or experiment with different dips such as a yogurt and garlic dip.

Calories for 1 fried artichoke approx 67

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For the next ten days, expand your dining horizons at the special event in Ospedaletti, Italy.

"Km 0" cuisine--eating seasonally, sustainably and extremely locally--is one of the biggest trends in dining today.  Ospedaletti's eighth annual "E Tempo di Carciofi" event, going on now, showcases zero-kilometer artichokes grown in the seaside town. 

Through Sunday March 8, more than 20 restaurants are offering special dishes that incorporate artichokes in ways both familiar and innovative.  Some have designed complete artichoke menus for a set price, while others have created unique specials.  A few that we're hoping to try in the next 10 days:

  • At €28, the seafood-and-artichoke four-course meal at the stylish Acquolina is a fantastic value for a restaurant at which a la carte main courses are priced over €20.  Dinner each evening except Tuesday, lunch also on weekends. Reserve by calling 0184 683687.
     
  • The "Pizza Mediterranea" at Baixarico is topped with artichokes marinated in taggiasca olive oil, cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella for €12.  On a sunny day (except Tuesday), snag a table overlooking the sea and new lungomare/pista ciclabile.  Open for lunch and dinner daily except Tuesday.  Call 0184 689259 or just go, getting a table should not be a problem.
     
  • Foodie paradise Acquerello should be on everyone's short list for special dinners.  Their gorgeous five-course artichoke meal €45) includes meat and fish.  Chef Maurizio Mauro presents his cuisine creatively and with fabulous depth of flavor and his American wife Sandy, who runs the front of the house, makes all of their guests feel welcome and cared for.  Reserve at 0184 682048.

The town has printed a 30-page booklet with the names, hours and proposed menus of participating restaurants, and we'll have copies available at the Britalia Apero on Friday February 27.  Buon appetito!

Thursday, 26 February 2015    Section: Food and Recipes
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