Stuffed artichoke was one of my favorite treats as a kid.  Mama always cooked three artichokes – one for me, and one for each of my sisters. So, this recipe calls for three average-sized artichokes.

I found these behemoths at the market, and thought they were so beautiful that I would try making two giant stuffed artichokes this time. Learn from my mistake. They took twice as long to cook, plus the hearts had very little flavor. Stick with a normal-sized artichoke.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c salt (for soaking)
  • 3 average-sized artichokes
  • 3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup), plus the zest (0ptional)
  • 1/2 c olive oil

First, hold the artichokes upside down and bang them on a hard, flat surface until they open up. You might need to coax them open a little more with your fingers after pounding them. Soak them in a sink full of water with about 1/2 cup salt for 15 minutes to kill any critters that might be hiding in there. Then remove from the water and rinse.

If they have long stems, cut those off so that the artichoke will stand upright.
Cut off the leaf points with kitchen scissors.

Now it’s time to make the dressing. Mix the bread crumbs, cheese, and garlic.
Zest the lemons and add to the mixture.
Then squeeze the juice of the lemons into the mixture. Add the olive oil, 1/4 c at a time, and mix until the dressing has the consistency of wet sand.

Starting at the bottom of the artichoke, gently pull a leaf away from the artichoke and stuff it with the dressing.
I do this in a large bowl because it can get quite messy.

Place the artichokes in a Dutch oven deep enough to cover them, and fill the pot with about 1 inch of water.
Sprinkle a little bit of water all over the artichokes to keep the dressing from drying out during cooking.

Over a high heat, bring the water to a boil.
Then lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and steam for 45-60 minutes.
(Check the water level occasionally, and add more if necessary.) The artichokes are done when you can pull out a leaf from the bottom of the flower with no resistance.
If you have to wiggle the leaf in the slightest to pull it off, they aren’t done yet.

All done!

To eat: Starting at the bottom, pull off a leaf;
scrape the dressing off the leaf with your teeth.

Then scrape off the tiny bit of the heart (the part that was connected to the flower) with your teeth.
It’s a messy dish, but who cares? That’s what napkins are for!

Once you make it to the top, and there are no more stuffed leaves, don’t throw away that funny-looking flower stump. It’s time to peel away the rest of the leaves and junk on the inside to get to the artichoke heart! That’s ok – you don’t have to do that now. I’ll show you how to do that next – oooh! and how about a delicious string bean and artichoke casserole?

Advertisements