baked, stuffed artichoke

baked, stuffed artichoke

I love artichokes.  Always have.  When I was a kid, I thought they were called “heart and chokes” because they had a heart (my favorite part) and that hair that could choke you. It wasn’t until I went away to school that I learned that they were actually Artichokes. (Did you know the plant is actually a thistle?) The only way I ever prepare them is by boiling them and dipping the leaves and heart in mayo. It’s what I learned.
Last week, while visiting my friend Denise, I walked into her kitchen to the most delightful aroma–garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese….you know, that itallian cooking smell.  OMG–my mouth was watering. “Please, stay for dinner”, she encouraged me. It was her daughter Nicole’s 17th birthday and, being Itallian, (and Nicole a vegetarian), they were cooking up a feast for a small gathering. Stuffed artichokes, eggplant parmesan, home baked bread, an awsome dessert.  Nicole and her sister, Veronica, call  me “Auntie Jules”, and even tho we are not related by blood and only see each other half-a-dozen times a year, we share a special bond. Our get togethers typically revolve around food, each of us preparing a special treat and lingering at the table for hours after the meal. Denise and her husband, Joe, used to own an itallian restaurant in Chicago, and both are killer chefs.
Anyway, Denise told me how she prepared the artichoke, so last night I fixed one for dinner. I’ll share my recipe in a sec., but here’s where I’d really like to go with this. I would like to have you send in some of your favorite recipes, depending on the “category” i.e., this week is vegetables, make it fairly simple, one of your faves. Post it to this site under comment, and let’s get a virtual recipebook going. OK, here goes…
Baked, Stuffed Artichokes   (serves 3 as a main, 6-8 as an appetizer)
 3 large male (pointy-leafed) artichokes,  
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley and lemons  as garnish
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    Trim the artichokes by cutting off the stems and tops with a knife.  Snip the tips of the side leaves with scissors. Rub  the cut surfaces with cut lemon halves to prevent browning (if you care). Squeeze the lemons into a large pot,  and fill the pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil. Add the artichokes to the boiling water. Boil the artichokes until tender, 12-15 minutes, then remove them with tongs and place them upside down on a towel to cool.

    While the artichokes cook, combine the garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add bread crumbs and brown. Remove from the heat, add the cheese and about half of the olive oil, and toss to combine.

    To stuff the artichokes, place them leaf-up on a flat surgace and press with your palm of a plate. The bulb will open and the leaves will seperate. Add 1/4 inch water to a shallow baking dish and arrange the artichokes in the pan so that they are balancing each other. Spoon the filling into each leaf and the center of the artichokes. Drizzle more oil over the stuffed artichokes, cover the pan with foil, and bake for 15 minutes to set the stuffing. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered to crisp the top.

    Enjoy!!  Now it’s your turn. Pass along the Vegetables, please.