In Sicilian dialect, the Italian word amore (love), is amuri, and salmoriglio becomes sammurigghiu; but I have found when asking for recipes that the term 'QB' (quanto basta) (or 'enough'), is used just as liberally as in the rest of Italy. I am fortunate then that the chef (Michael Sampson) at Anna Tasca Lanza where I'm currently living while I document an intensive ten week program called 'Cook the Farm', is Irish. And after just a couple of attempts I was able to pry this recipe for Carciofi alla Brace from him. There is not a vegetable I love more than artichokes, nor a prettier sight than seeing them nestled together, resembling waterlilies as they cook until charred and soft. This should be done, as we did today, over the last (and hottest) coals from your barbeque - and if you have left over sammurigghiu it is a very fine accompaniment to swordfish (however you decide to spell it).
Carciofi alla Brace
8-10 carciofi spinosi (spiky artichokes)
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 heaped tablespoon mint, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
To prepare the artichokes: trim the stem to about 2-3 cm below the base of the flower (you will use this to tuck the artichokes in the coals). Pull off a few of the outer petals, give the artichokes a good bash on a wooden board, and pry open their petals.
For the sammurigghiu: whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl until emulsified before adding the rest of the ingredients and season to taste.
Pour the sammurigghiu liberally over each artichoke just prior cooking nestled closely together in hot coals for about 20-30 minutes until very black on the outside and soft and buttery inside.
C(h)ook's notes -
- The preferred artichokes for this recipe are the spiky ones of Sardinian origin on the right of the first picture, rather than the round (Roman) ones on the left. Though the latter will also work; you will need to add the extra step of removing the hairy 'choke' before cooking.