Artichoke Hold

It was always a royal event when mom brought home fresh artichokes. They were practically paraded like gods from the car trunk, across the front lawn and into the house. We all anticipated the night’s offering of breadcrumbs and garlicky goodness — Knowing they were on the menu changed everything. Sorry guys, can’t come out tonight, mom’s making stuffed artichokes.

These goodies start with a thorough trimming. Remove the outer most leaves that are the toughest. Snip off all the pointed edges and cut about 1-2 inches off the top. I’ve also found it helpful to then cut the whole artichoke in half. To prevent browning, a handy wedge of lemon is crucial for rubbing across all the cut surfaces. With the artichokes halved, it’s much easier to remove the choke in the center with a spoon. Now these beauties get set in a pot with a few inches of water. Put a few smashed garlic cloves, a wedge of lemon, salt and a splash of dry white wine in the water. Steam away on a medium to medium-high heat for about 30-45 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender but not over done (the outer leaves will be easy to peel off).

artichoke

Never seen one quite this pretty before.

Meanwhile, I put together my mixture for the stuffing. A healthy dose of Italian breadcrumbs, grated/pressed/minced garlic, grated Parmesan, a small pour of olive oil, and chopped flat leaf parsley. Last week I added some minced shallots. Once the artichokes are removed from their steam bath let them cool slightly so you can comfortably handle them. Using a spoon, gently and generously sprinkle the stuffing between all the leaves. I like to finish them up by putting the remaining mixture in their centers with a small pat of butter on top. Lay them flat, cut side up, drizzle a bit of olive oil over top and pop into a 350 F oven for about 15 minutes. At the very end I’ve even put them under the broiler for a few minutes for a grilled accent.

artichoke

A drizzle of olive oil before a few minutes in the oven.

I love these with a fresh squeeze of lemon. Each precious leaf will have a bit of the stuffing to enjoy. But you are in for a morsel of heaven when you get to the heart with its extra helping.

Stuffed with breadcrumbs, garlic, grated parmesean and fresh parsley.

Stuffed with breadcrumbs, garlic, grated Parmesan and fresh parsley.

For more information about preparing an artichoke, check this out. Great details and pictures so you can’t go wrong.