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You can certainly find artichokes all year long, but March – May is when they are in season. Growing up, it just wasn’t springtime without my Gram making her family-famous and delicious stuffed artichokes. My memories of Easter always include her stuffed artichokes.
It’s sort of funny looking back, I was an extremely finicky eater as a kid, and yet I never missed a chance to enjoy this odd vegetable. I guess when you grow up around artichokes, eating something that looks like a succulent plant is no biggie.
Artichokes can be tricky to prepare if you are unfamiliar with them. It’s worth a try to learn though, since they are a great source of fiber, along with vitamins C and K, and are packed with antioxidants. Oh, and they taste heavenly.
Helpful Artichoke Tips
How to choose: look for artichokes that feel heavy for their size, with firm, tightly packed leaves. It’s perfectly fine if they have purple undertones. You should avoid artichokes with leaves that are spongy, loose, dry, split or browning.
How to store: don’t rinse or cut the artichokes. Instead, sprinkle the stem with water, place in a plastic storage bag, and refrigerate. They will hold up very well for 3 – 5 days until ready to use.
How to eat: Do you know how to eat a stuffed artichoke? When I make these for people that have never had them before, I always get asked how to go about eating them. You’ll want to tear off a leaf and then pull it through your bottom teeth, scraping the “meat” off the leaf as you go. When the leaves get very tender closer to the center, you may want to eat the whole thing. At the center, use a fork to scrape out the middle “prickly” part. Under that is the artichoke heart. It’s sort of like a buried treasure…it’s my very favorite part of the entire artichoke!
- 4 artichokes large
- 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp parsley finely chopped
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 1 lemon quartered
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- To prepare the artichokes, start by using a serrated knife to chop approximately one inch off top. Cut off stems to allow artichokes to sit flat. Snip tips off leaves with kitchen shears. Rub one quarter of a lemon over the top, sides and bottom of each artichoke to prevent browning.
- Mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Open up the artichokes by gently pulling spreading the leaves away from the center.
- Stuff the artichokes with the breadcrumb mixture. Get the mixture in between all the leaves and over the top.
- Place the stuffed artichokes in a small baking dish so that they are tightly nestled together. Artichokes must be upright. Place enough water in the bottom of the dish so that it fills about half an inch. Make sure the water does not touch the stuffing.
- Drizzle olive oil over tops of artichokes, if desired. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for one hour and ten.
- Remove the foil and continue baking another 10 minutes.
I hope you’ll give these a try and let me know how you like them in the comments below or post a photo of them and tag @coolbeanliving on Instagram.
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