So I don’t know if you’ve figured it out yet, but I’m a pretty shitty blogger. For months, all the *real* bloggers have been waxing lyrical about spring’s bounty: ramps, artichokes, fava beans, rhubarb… You wouldn’t know it, but all but the first have made an appearance in my kitchen within the last few months. Meanwhile, I’ve been posting canned tomato sauces and pantry staple cakes. I get it. I’m a shitty blogger.
And so, a peace offering.
While I’m not particularly picky, there are a few things I don’t like. Tom’s list of things he won’t eat, however, is completely ridiculous. Mushrooms, olives, eggs, seafood, pickles (except pepperoncini). All things that rank up near the top of “Foods That I Probably Eat on a Daily Basis.” Artichokes are one of the things I fully expected him to cringe and recoil at in horror. To my pleasant surprise, we found something we can actually agree on.
Now as lovely and lucious as I am artichokes are on their own, is anything really ruined by adding carbs and cheese? I think not. So I took a cue from the fantabulous Anne Burrell and stuffed mine. And while artichokes are definitely a labor of love, who better to make them for than the ultimate labor of love himself? Anyway, because I’m a whackadoodle, I find all the prep work rather peaceful. I can think of few things I prefer more than throwing Parker down for a nap and pottering around the kitchen, cracking open the bottle of wine you’ll be finishing off in the final dish. I prepped these on a Saturday afternoon intending on eating them that night, but didn’t get around to it until the next. Submerged in the acidulated water, they actually kept fine.
I admit, sometimes I’m not 100% confident in the kitchen. When prepping my ‘chokes, I got a little confused. The first two I prepped I removed all of the inner light green leaves. Then I started thinking “Wait, can’t you eat the light green leaves with the heart?” and confuddled myself. So then I left them in for the remaining two. Next time I’ll just take them all out. I toyed with the idea of stuffing not just the cavity, but the outer leaves as well, but ultimately stuck with the recipe. Next time I’ll spread the leaves and share the love with the whole crew. But my favorite part of this whole recipe? The disclaimer. Burrell says, “Cook’s Note: Before starting this recipe be aware that there is a lot of waste involved in artichokes. It’s ok. Just accept it and move on.” Yet another reason why I love her and her show.
This is supposed to be a side dish (she serves hers with carbonara), but Tom’s a light eater, so he had one and I had the remaining three one and a half and we had leftovers. Obviously, if you eat more than we do, simply serve as a side.
adapted from Anne Burrell
4 medium artichokes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup grated Parm-Reg
1 cup breadcrumbs (I used fresh simply because I had some. Canned is fine.)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup pinenuts, toasted (She says optional. Pinenuts are never optional in my book.)
3 anchovy fillets, chopped (Again, optional. I opted out on this one. Remember no-fish Tom?)
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups white wine
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze the juice of one of the lemons into the water and toss the empty shells in as well.
Using a sharp knife, cut off the top 1/2 inch or so of the artichoke tops. With your kitchen shears, snip off the little burrs on the end of each leaf. (Careful–some of these buggers are huge.) Using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outside layer around the stem. (A Y-peelermakes this easier, but use whatever you’ve got.) Lop the stem off with your knife and toss into your bowl of water. Snap off the tough out leaves and toss. Insert your thumbs into the center hole and gently open up the artichoke to get to the center hairy choke. Using a melon baller, grapefruit spoon, or teaspoon (I used the latter), remove all of the hairy part. Toss into the water with your reserved stems. If you’re doing this ahead of time, place a small plate on top of the artichokes to make sure they are completely submerged in the water. Refrigerate.
Combine all the ingredients except oil and wine. Chop up your reserved stems, and add to the bowl, along with the zest and juice of the remaining lemon. Slowly drizzle in your olive oil to form a paste. Taste for salt and add more if you like. (Keep in the mind the cheese is salty, as well as the anchovies, if using.) Fill the inner cavities with the stuffing; you can also pull some of the leaves away and add more stuffing if you life.
Set the ‘chokes upright in a saucepan along with the lemon halves. (That yellow thing you see in the bottom of my picture is a cookie cutter I stuck in the pan to keep everything standing up. This was when we first moved and I only had a few pots and pans unpacked.) Pour in the wine along with enough lemon water to go 3/4 of the way up the side of the artichokes. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer 15-20 minutes.