You get one confused guy. One evening, about 10 years ago, my Mom cooked up stuffed artichokes filled with olive oil soaked breadcrumbs, garlic, and parmesean cheese. As my family was sitting down to dinner, our beloved neighbor, Sean, popped in to say hi. He saw us scraping the meat out of the artichoke leaves with our teeth, and was immediately intrigued (who wouldn’t be?). He had never seen a whole artichoke before, let alone had the opportunity to eat one. In true Italian fashion, we offered him a plate, and watched as he cautiously placed one of the leaves in his mouth. He ended up enjoying the artichoke, but I think the cheesy stuffing was probably his favorite part!
I had grown up my whole life eating artichoke hearts, and this memory reminds me how lucky I was to be exposed to different kinds of food from a young age, and how food can be the best way to invite people into your home. I remember carefully watching my mom prepare these artichokes, all the while saying how much work they were, yet still enjoying the final product once they were cooked. You can enjoy these as part of an antipasti platter or by themselves. I’ve even heard of a tradition in Texas where they dip the leaves into a mayo of some sort, but since I detest mayo, I’ll let Google help you out with that recipe. I’ll leave you with this song by Carly Simon, as it’s one of my Mom’s favorites and it takes me back to being young and cooking up a storm with her.
- 2 whole artichokes
- 4 heaping table spoons Italian breadcrumbs
- 3 tbs parmesean cheese
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Dash of garlic powder
- Prepare artichokes by rinsing under water to get any grit out of leaves.
- Dry and cut off about ½ inch of the woody stem, and cut the artichoke in half from top to stem.
- Scoop out the "choke" or fuzzy parts of the artichoke to make a well for the filling.
- In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesean, evoo, salt, pepper, and dash of garlic. *You want this mixture to resemble wet sand, so just add enough evoo until you get you there.
- Stuff each artichoke half with about a tablespoon of this mixture and make sure to press hard to secure that delish stuffing.
- Place one inch of water in a high-wall saute pan. Place artichokes in pan and drizzle with additional evoo and a sprinkle of parmesean cheese.
- Cook for about an hour on low heat, with the top on.
- Make sure to check on water level every 15 minutes, as you want to make sure they're sitting in an inch of water during the whole cooking process.
- Artichokes are finished when the outer leaves pull away and are tender.