The first time I have eaten these tiny artichokes was when I met my in-laws in their hometown in Liguria, Italy. It was one of the first local food that Alberto's mom prepared for me. I was used to the big artichokes you need to steam or boil, and I was surprised to discover this variety that Alberto's mom cut in slices and stir-fried before adding it to different dishes: frittata, pasta, risotto and such. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law never follows any recipe. It took me a while to find one that gives me a frittata as good as hers.
Ligurian Artichoke Frittata, adapted from the blog La Belle Auberge (italian blog)
3 - 4 small artichokes
a handful of dried porcini
few sprigs of fresh marjoram
5 eggs (I've used 4)
25 g of white bread soaked in a bit of milk
4 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
a pinch of dried oregano
1. Soak the porcini mushrooms in warm water for about ten minutes. Drain and squeeze them well.
2. Prepare the artichokes: Bend back outer petals until they snap off easily near base; continue to snap off petals until leaves are half green at top and half yellow. Slice off green portion of leaves. Cut the stem level with the base and trim any remaining dark green from the base. Cut artichokes in half. Cut out any purple or pink inner leaves. If the interior is white, the entire artichoke is edible.
3. Mince the shallot and fry over medium heat in a little bit of oil. Add the artichokes and mushrooms, coarsely chopped. Cook coverered for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still firm. Add the chopped marjoram.
4. Break the eggs in a bowl, whisk briefly, add the bread crumbs, parmesan, pinch of oregano, salt and pepper.
5. Pour the mixture over the vegetables in the skillet. Cook on one side, cover if needed, turn the omelet and finish cooking. (I let it dry on a paper towel for a few minutes before serving)