You may remember a little while back when I was on my jaunt through Europe, I stayed at an amazing place in Italy called Fattoria Poggio Alloro. It is a working farm with guest accommodations, also termed now as Agritourism! This place was absolutely magical, and although my hubby and I only spent one night, it was one of our favorite places on our 4 week vacation!
The best thing about Fattoria Poggio Alloro to me, aside from the heavenly setting along the Tuscan hills, and the spectacular views, was the food, and the fact that this place is completely self sustainable. Everything from the wine, to the olive oil, to the vegetables, to the pasta, to the saffron is produced at Poggio Alloro. The farm is also 100% organic! 🙂
During our stay, I was able to meet the wonderful Sarah Fioroni. She is a member of the family who owns and runs Poggio Alloro. When I stepped foot into the guest check-in, the first thing I noticed was the cookbook – “A Family Farm In Tuscany” (link to purchase at the bottom of the post!) sitting on the shelves, I knew I had to have it!
Sarah, wrote this beautiful book that takes readers through a journey of a year in the life at Fattorio Poggio Alloro. It is full of history of the farm, the family, the surroundings, and wonderful traditional recipes that have been passed on for generations, and even some dishes that we were lucky enough to taste at the communal guest dinner!
Through our conversation, Sarah and I discussed the book, and she invited me to participate in this Blogging Book Tour. I was asked to choose a recipe from the cookbook, prepare it, and post on it!
I chose the Insalatina di Carciofi (Artichoke Salad)! This recipe stuck out to me because:
a) I LOVE artichokes, and
b)I loved the simplicity of the dish.
Delicious, simple, healthy ingredients, that combine perfectly to make a spectacular dish.
The recipe called for whole artichokes, but I do not have much experience working with whole artichokes so I had a change of plans. I bought some whole artichokes and tried to clean and prepare them (following a you tube video instruction because I had no idea how), and they just weren’t turning out how they were supposed to. I think they were either too ripe, not ripe enough, or I just really butchered them! Lol!
So, I ended up going back to the store and getting canned (in water) artichoke hearts for the salad. If you know how to deal with whole artichokes I encourage you to make the recipe the original way, but the canned ones worked great too! (in the picture, above are the whole ones… maybe unripe? and below are the canned)
Once I got the whole artichoke dilemma solved, the salad came together in a snap!
It was light, yet bursting with flavor, a little salty from the parmesan, and citrusy from the lemon. I used some olive oil I brought back from Italy and it added a sweet soft flavor to the mix.
Artichokes are a great source of fiber, 3g per two artichoke hearts, so this salad is great for digestive health! The lemon adds in some antioxidants, and the olive oil lends essential fatty acids. This salad is really a nutritionists dream 🙂
I made about a 1/3 of the recipe as the original recipe serves 6. I also cut down on the olive oil in my version as I prefer my salads to always be very lightly dressed!
Here is the delicious, original recipe from the book.
- 1 lb whole artichokes (or you can used canned artichoke hearts like I did!)
- ½ lemon
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1½ ounces thinly sliced Parmesan cheese
- Clean the artichokes, removing the hard outer leaves. Cut off the tips. Leave at least 1½ inches of the stems, but peel off the stringy outer layer. Place the cleaned artichokes in a bowl of cold water.
- Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the water and drop the lemon into the artichokes with the water. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. (If using canned, skip this first step and instead just drain and rinse the canned artichoke hearts)
- Drain and thinly slice the artichokes lengthwise to make about 4½ cups.
- Transfer the artichokes to a bowl and dress with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Toss to combine.
- Then arrange the artichokes on a serving platter and top with the Parmesan cheese.
If you would like to purchase this beautifully written and photographed cookbook please click the following link:
Nutritionist in the Kitch