baby artichokes with grana padano cheese
carciofini con grana padano

4 servings
Raw artichokes, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and finished with shaved cheese is simple Italian food at its best. This recipe is from Gabriella Zanella of Ca'Vignotto in Sant'Erasmo, the Italian town north of Venice that grows the legendarily tender carciofi violette, or violet artichokes.

1/2 lemon
8 baby artichokes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces shaved Grana Padano or
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Fill a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze juice from lemon half into water in bowl, then add lemon half.

Cut off artichoke stems and discard. Cut off top 1/2 inch of 1 artichoke with a serrated knife. Bend outer leaves backward until they snap off close to base, then discard several more layers of leaves in same manner until you reach pale yellow leaves with pale green tips. Cut off green tips.
Trim dark green fibrous parts from base and sides of artichoke with a small sharp knife, then cut lengthwise into sixths. Put pieces in lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Drain artichokes and pat dry well, then put into a dry bowl. Add oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide artichokes onto serving plates and top with cheese; drizzle with oil from the bowl and serve.