Scenes from a Venetian Market: Fondi di Carciofo (Artichoke Ends)

Last night at a little bar in Venice, Italy, we snacked on rounds of artichoke bottoms, soaked in oil and marinated in spices. Tender and cool, they were a lovely start to a meal — flavorful and not too filling. Today I saw how these things are sold: by the half dozen, bobbing in water at the market!
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We've all had marinated artichoke hearts, usually chopped into bite-sized wedges. But this was the first time I had seen artichokes prepared this way. Big as saucers, with the meat of the artichoke exposed and ready to eat, these artichoke bottoms make great appetizers, and apparently they are a specialty of Venice. I've seen them here, there, and everywhere — in the groceries and on menus.

They were available at nearly every market stall, soaking in lemon water to keep them from getting browned and discolored.

More about fondi di carciofo, including how to prep and cook them: Artichoke Bottoms at The Artichoke Blog.

Do you ever prepare artichokes this way? Or have you eaten them like this, perhaps in Italy?

Related: Cheese & The Artichoke: Cheese Soufflé-Stuffed Artichokes from Martha Stewart

(Images: Faith Durand)

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