This is the second recipe I developed using the fabulous ingredients I bought at Giovanni’s last week. Artichokes are just coming into season and they were too beautiful to resist. I asked Nicholas how I should prepare them, and he suggested doing them in a classic Italian way, and to stuff them and steam bake them.
I have tended to avoid artichokes in the past as they are a food that are high on the effort to reward ratio, and mostly I just like to eat my food vs fiddling and picking at it to get tiny morsels.
However, I soon discovered that even the small morsels that this vegetables yields, makes the effort all worthwhile.
I also love cooking food that I am slightly less familiar with. Variety is the spice of life.
Most of the ingredients that are used to stuff artichokes are found in parsley pesto, so I thought this was a fabulous solution to simplify the recipe.
This is what you will need to stuff 3 medium to large artichokes:
- 2 cups of bread crumbs (use ciabatta, sourdough or another tasty bread). I tore a sourdough into pieces and toasted the chunks slightly to make the grinding up in the food processor to a crumb much easier
- 3 Tbs (slightly heaped) parsley pesto, or use: freshly chopped parsley, 2 crushed garlic cloves, olive oil and about a Tbs of grated Parmesan cheese
- about 3 Tbs of EV olive oil
- salt and pepper
- a small handful of chopped toasted pine kernels (optional)
How to make:
- pre heat the oven to 18o C
- in a bowl mix all the ingredients so that it is still loose but all combined and starting to clump
- cut the stalks to the base so that the artichokes stand up
- cut the tops off, and then ply open the leaves with your hands
- press the crumb mixture between the leaves and press down and fill as much as you can
- place the artichokes standing up in a deep sided oven proof dish and fill the base of the dish with boiling water (just to reach the bottom of the artichoke)
- cover the whole dish tightly with tin foil, and bake for 45 minutes
- turn on the grill, take off the foil and then drizzle some more olive oil over the artichokes and toast for about 4 minutes until they are golden brown
- serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over (optional)
Make sure you have another empty bowl for the left over leaves. Pull and suck the leaves off the artichokes, nibbling on the crunchy bits as you go. When you reach the middle, the heart of it, you know why you have gone to all this trouble.
Another recipe using parsley pesto: