Artichokes have been one of my favorite foods since I was a little kid. My mom always stuffed them with breadcrumbs and I loved alternating between dipping the leaves in melted butter and red wine vinegar.
I know that artichokes can be intimidating, with their sharp prickly leaves and bitter choke, but I’m here to tell you that the effort is so worth it, and once you learn how, preparing artichokes can be quite therapeutic.
Just this week the New York Times published an article entitled the 9 Ways to Make the Most of an Artichoke, which explains how to prepare artichokes raw, stuffed or sautéed, and provides recipes for each.
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 whole artichokes
- 2-3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup EVOO
Squeeze the lemon halves into a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. To prepare them stuffed, first use scissors to cut off the prickly tops of the leaves and disgard any hard outer leaves. Then slowly tug the leaves outward to loosen them for the filling and dig out the sharp little leaves on the inside with a spoon until it’s nice and clean. Also be sure to trim off the stems so each artichoke can sit flat in the pot. I cut up the stem into little circles and steamed them along side the artichokes. As each one is completed, place it in the lemon water to prevent it from discoloring.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, and parsley and season with pepper. Mix well; slowly add the oil till the crumb mixture is moistened enough to stick together. You may need to adjust the amount of oil depending on the type and amount of bread crumbs used.
Stuff the filling into the middle and also pull each leaf open slightly and stuff a little filling into the opening. Place the artichokes snugly side by side in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 1 inch of water to the pot. Squeeze lemon juice over the top. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and steam until the bottoms of the artichokes are tender, 35 to 45 minutes; a knife should insert easily. Make sure the water doesn’t boil dry. Add more water if necessary.
Serve each artichoke hot, on an individual plate with melted butter and red wine vinegar in little ramekins to dip. Also be sure to put out big bowls on the table to deposit the leaves in once you’ve eaten them.