Carciofini sott'olio

(= Small Artichokes Preserved in Oil)

For each kg of artichokes (1), which should be very small and tender, you need: white wine vinegar white wine bay leaf1 tbsp peppercorns1 lemon salt Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cut off most of the stalk of the artichokes, removing the tougher outer petals and trimming the tips of the others to eliminate the spikes. Soak them in water acidulated with the lemon juice for 10 minutes Put the vinegar and wine in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Drain the artichokes and then cook them in the mixture of wine and vinegar; use a slotted spoon to remove them from the liquid when they’re still “al dente” (it will take about 8-10 minutes). Place them, upside down, on a tea towel folded in two and leave them to cool. Arrange the artichokes, alternated with bay leaves and peppercorns, in carefully cleaned and dried glass jars, and cover them completely with olive oil. After 24 hours, check the level of the oil and, if necessary, add some more. Close the jars and put them in a cool and dark place: they will be ready to eat a month after you prepare them. Artichokes prepared in this way will keep for a year or maybe more. To extend their "keeping time" you can sterilise the jars in boiling water. (1) In Tuscany we use the "Morellino" variety, so called due to the dark colour of their leaves, which is ready to pick in the spring.