Ingredients for 4 people:8 fresh, tender artichokes6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil a few fresh thyme leaves or a pinch of dried thyme1 lemon1 clove of garlic salt and pepper
Trim the artichokes, leaving approx. 2 cm of stalk and removing the spikes and the tougher outer leaves. Cut them into 4 to 6 segments, depending on the size of the artichoke, and remove the choke (the “fluff” inside). To prevent the segments from turning black, soak them in water and lemon juice for a quarter of an hour. Drain them thoroughly, and heat them in a frying pan with the olive oil, the whole clove of garlic, the thyme, salt and pepper. When they have browned a little, remove the garlic and add a glass of hot water (the liquid should about half-cover the artichokes). Finish cooking over low heat, with the lid on, until the artichokes are cooked but still firm. Use a fork to check if they are cooked. If the artichokes are of a "tougher" variety, and should the water dry out before they are ready, add some more hot water a little at a time.
The same recipe can be used to prepare another Tuscan side dish: “Carciofi in umido” (= Stewed Artichokes). To prepare this dish, in addition to the other ingredients, you will need 200 g of fresh ripe tomatoes (or the same quantity of preserved tomatoes). They must be washed thoroughly, cut into pieces and put through a food mill; then you use them instead of the hot water in the recipe above. The artichokes will finish cooking in the tomatoes’ juices.