Artichoke cream, ham and Brie piadina

While walking on the street thinking about how to use three artichokes I had in the fridge, I had the idea for this recipe.

Piadina is a thing made of flour you can stuff, a bit like a crepe. It’s typical of Emilia-Romagna, an Italian region (maybe you heard about Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Rimini, Milano Marittima…), and it’s a street food.

I don’t know if around the world you can buy ready-to-stuff piadina at the supermarket, but in Italy the answer is yes. However, I prefer to make them  at home because I don’t like the preservatives in industrial ones.

Quantities for 2 serves.

Artichoke cream

3 artichokes, a little bit of a sweet onion / shallot, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon

Enjoy artichokes’ coloured and geometrical beauty! 

Clean the 3 artichokes: remove the exterior leaves, all the sharp points and the hairy portion in the inner part. Cut them in fine slices. Put the slices  in a bowl with water and lemon juice, for the artichokes not to oxidize.  Then brown the chopped onion in a pan with oil, and add the artichokes. Add salt and cook with a cover for about 20 minutes, until cooked. Then blend it, with some oil if necessary and ground pepper if you like. To make the cream without fibres, pass it in a strainer.

Piadina

You need a wide pan, like mine (thanks to my best friends for this gift!), from the “Chef à porter” Aeternum Bialetti crepes sets.

The ingredients are simple: for 2 piadinas, 150 g of white flour, a little bit of salt, a little bit of sugar, and a generous teaspoon of lard (I used clarified butter but I think ordinary butter works well too).

Mix these ingredients in a bowl, then add approximately half glass of warm water. Add a little water at a time and knead well the dough until it becomes a non-sticky ball.

Time to divide the dough in two parts and roll them out with a rolling-pin (I suggest to do it over some baking paper with flour, for the piadina not to attach at the  work top). Make two round and thin piadinas and cook them one at a time in the wide pan (do no add anything else in the pan for the cooking) over a low/medium heath, taking care not to burn or dry too much the piadina (when cooked, you should be able to fold it in the half).

Assembling

Spread the cream over half part of the piadinas, cover with some slices of Brie and some slices of ham. Fold the piadinas in the half and put them again in the pan for the Brie to melt.

Eat hot this italian fast/slow food!!!

Speaking of artichokes and italian products.. 

Do you know Libera Terra Products?

Libera is an association fighting against mafia, and Libera Terra is the part of this association that works to confiscate the large lande estates in South Italy owned by the mafia, and to do organic farming and cultural events over them.

Libera Terra artichokes’ pot is simply amazing!!!! (thanks mum)

Here the link to look and buy this healthy, perfect tasting and social helpful italian products (in Italy you can found them also in shops): La Bottega di Libera Terra

Bagna caôda

Bagna caôda (hot sauce) it’s a Piedmont typical dish every good inhabitant (piemontese) feels like eating in november.

It’s an anchovy sauce in which we dip sticks of vegetables before eating them.

Here’s my recipe (serves 3).

9 salted anchovies

100 g of a good extra virgin olive oil

30 g of butter

3 medium garlic clove

1 glass of milk

1 glass full-bodied red wine + more to drink with

Cut in half the garlic cloves and remove the sprout, then put the cloves in a little pot with hot milk (this is to remove part of the strong flavour).

Wash the anchovies, remove the bone and cover them with the wine glass. (optional)

Wait 1 hour, then: take an earthenware pot, or a pot with thick bottom, and put it over the lightest fire you have (I use my wood stove) because this sauce has to cook long time without frying.

Put the oil and the butter in the pot. When the butter is melted, put the anchovies and the garlic. The anchovies are going to melt in a few minute. I allow to cook for 10 minutes, then I do an interesting heresy in relation to the original method: instead of wait hours and hours for the garlic to melt, I take a blender (this one. By the way, how to say it in english?) and blend very well the sauce. I’m sorry with the tradition, but modern life impose this short cut 😀 . Let the sauce cook for 15 minutes more, then serve immediately.

Fujot is the typical cup for serving bagna caôda, so it remains hot.

I do not have them :(, so I used regular little cups.

Before making the sauce, prepare the vegs. You can use:

potatoes

celery

cabbage

cabbage turnip

celery turnip

peppers

cardoon

Jerusalem artichoke

Celery, cabbage, cabbage turnip, celery turnip, Jerusalem artichoke go raw.

Peppers and cardoon go raw or boiled, it depends on your taste.

Potatoes go boiled. Choose red ones (firmer pulp).

Every veg goes chopped into sticks.

Enjoy (and don’t forget to drink the red wine together)! Or… if you will come to Piedmont, taste it!

Vitel tonné

The “Vitel Tonné” à la française or “Vitello Tonnato” in italian it’s a traditional starter of my region, Piedmont.

Source: televideo.rai.it

Source: regione.piemonte.itSource: vaticano.com

It’s composed by thin slices of meat (vitel) covered by a tuna specific sauce (tonné).

The meat: I’m not good at cutting meat, so I usually take a short cut by buying the already cooked and sliced meat at the supermarket, in the cold cuts area (in Italy, ask for “girello di vitello”). But the best is to cook the meat at home. You will need 600 g round of beef / silverside. Put the meat in a pot with olive oil, add 1/2 onion (not chopped), 2 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaf, some rosemary, 2 juniper berries, 6 cloves, some peppercorn (I use pink pepper), a celery stick and a carrot. Brown the meat, then add some water and let the meat simmer until it’s cooked. Then, let the meat cool down and cut it in slices of about 2-3 millimeters thin (ideally).

The sauce: blend together 100 g of tuna in olive oil, 3 hard-boiled eggs, 15 capers, 4 anchovy fillet in oil, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some of the cooking stock of the meat. And… that’s it!

Spread the sauce over the meat slices a few hours before the dinner, to let the dish get the flavour. If the sauce it’s too dense, you can add some water. Decorate with capers.