There aren’t many food places in this world as mythical as the Tokyo Fish Market. Here, all the strangely alien beings from the other side of the ocean are dredged up to meet the eater face to face, eyeball to eyeball.
On one side is the imminent disappearance of a species, and on the other side is the honed cultural art form of sushi making. Just as in another era, the samurai were driven towards achieving perfection in the art of war, sushi chefs such as the legendary Jiro are driven towards an ephemeral ideal in the art of sushi making.
I ordered Carciofi alla Guidia, or Jewish-style artichokes, at Giggetto in the Jewish ghetto of Rome, the oldest Jewish ghetto in the world.
While we were eating, an elderly gentleman came in with an acoustic guitar and crooned to us Dean Martin songs, “Volare” and “That’s Amore.” It’s not that Michelangelo’s muscular deities of the Sistine Chapel and Bernini’s ability to carve movement into marble aren’t testaments to human creation and achievement and commitment. It’s just that the artichoke recipes of Rome are as beautiful a contribution to the human culture. At least as beautiful of a contribution. Maybe even more beautiful. As Alberto Capatti and Massimo Montanari wrote, “What is the glory of Dante compared to spaghetti?”
I also ordered Carciofi alla Romana in the very, very pink Edoardo II. I can also recommend the Gnocchi alla Casa. Because it was delicious.
3 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat of a knife, with the peels removed
1 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of olive oil
Trim the stalk of your artichokes, scrape out the choke, and snip off the pokies on the flower end.To boil your artichokes, Parle recommends putting them in a pot that will “hold your artichokes snugly with their stalks in the air so they won’t topple over.” I’m going to allow myself some leeway on this, as I don’t think I own such a pot. After you’ve settled your artichokes in as best you can, add the parsley, mint, garlic, white wine, and olive oil. Add enough water to the pot “to reach just below where the heart turns to the stalk.” Steam on medium heat for about 20 minutes, being careful to replenish the water if it all evaporates before then. When the hearts are soft, take the lid off and increase the heat so that the artichokes begin to brown. Serve and eat.