Finocchi e "Castraůre" de Carciofini in Tegame
Region: Italy, Veneto
Category: Antipasto, Meze, Tapas, and Hors d'Oeuvres
Difficulty: Easy but labor intensive
In the region around Venice, both fennel and artichokes are favorite vegetables. In markets, the fennel is sometimes so fragrant that you can smell it even before you reach the vendor. In the markets of Venice, the best artichokes are sold as nostrano, meaning local, but also implying the best quality. One variety much like by connoisseurs are the castraùre, the so-called “castrated” young artichokes plucked from the stem. This recipe is perfect from late spring and throughout the summer.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 1 hour
1. In a mortar, pound the salami or pancetta until flaky. In an oven-proof skillet (make sure it does not have wooden or rubber handles), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the onion, salami or pancetta, and garlic until the onions are very translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the artichokes and fennel and cook until the fennel is a little soft, about 12 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the broth. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Preheat the broiler. Place the vegetables in their skillet under the broiler until slightly crispy on top, about 5 to 10 minutes. You may need to keep the oven door a jar while you do this.