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Preserving Carciofini & Pomodori Secchi

(baby artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes)


Italians like to preserve certain vegetables when they are at their peak so they can eat them out of season and my mother-in-law is no exception. Lisa has been doing it for over 60 years and these are a couple of her favorite recipes that are also extremely simple. Artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes are two ingredients that you can never have enough of in the summer when you're sitting outside having a long Sunday lunch with cheese, fresh bread, gli affettati and a chilled rosato.


Carciofini:

1. Small artichokes won’t have a hairy choke inside so they can be trimmed as we described here but without slicing them in half. They look better when they are kept whole and you can even eat them raw which is why the cooking time here is so short.

2. As each one is cleaned, rub them with a bit of lemon and drop them into a bowl of cold water with some slices of lemon and a little vinegar.

3. When they are all ready, boil them for no more than 3 minutes in salted water with a little vinegar added.

4. Then drain and leave them upside down for about 12 hours to become completely dry because water is the enemy when they are being preserved.

5. As soon as they are completely dry, layer them into a sterilized glass jar together with a couple of bay leaves and some black peppercorns (whole not ground). Fill the jar completely with extra virgin Italian olive oil and seal well, but you will probably need to add a little more oil over the next 2-3 days as the artichokes settle in the jar and a gap appears at the top.



Pomodori Secchi:

1. Buy these in their dry form and boil them for 3 minutes in just enough water to cover them, together with a little white wine, vinegar and salt added.

2. Drain and then allow them to dry on a cloth for a few hours until all the water is gone.

3. Layer them into a sterilized glass jar with olive oil and whole black peppercorns as well as some dried oregano.

4. Add more olive oil as necessary over the next couple of days and seal well.


Both of these preserves only require refrigeration after opening.