This Saturday was meant to be an evening in Roma, one of my all-time favorite cities in the world. I spent quite a few lovely days there in my youth and cemented my crush on Audrey Hepburn by lilting through the 1954 film Roman Holiday (don't worry, my wife approves), so I thought what better way to celebrate an early-returning spring than to hearken back to the eternal city. We were going to do so by starting with the proverbial Jewish Artichokes, a great antipasto that takes young artichokes and basically fries them in olive oil, leaving crispy leaves to peel off and nibble the edges. The sort of young artichoke required is a common ingredient in the food stalls of Roman markets but not in the produce section of my local grocery. So we settled for large, not-quite-right-for-the-job globe artichokes. This led to a recipe improvisation towards Roman artichokes, another simple preparation that uses olive oil with garlic and parsley to create a different but quite-decent affect.
Now at this point, I was feeling quite glum. An immovable object, my wife might say. It took me a good 10 minutes to break my feelings of failure and inadequacy - and to remind myself that our little culinary experiment was bound to encounter such hiccups along the way. I will get this artichoke thing right and prove myself a worthy honorary Roman at some point, but not tonight - and it was time to stop languishing on the lost appetizer and move on to the main course.
|All's well that ends well - Saltimbocca on an evening in Roma...|