Ingredients: artichoke, garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan, olive oil, white wine, oregano, basil, black pepper, salt.
It seems to me that a majority of artichoke recipe titles end in “dip.” That’s a shame. The delicate flavor of a fresh artichoke should be lifted skyward and savored with simple, honest preparation — not drowned in cream cheese.
Then again, if your artichokes came from a can, it’s probably too late for glory. Now, I don’t hate tinned artichokes. They’re edible. The problem is how overpoweringly tart the preservative citric acid can be. I mean, it works out fine for dip and vinegary salads, but you aren’t really tasting artichoke.
Case in point: when I served one of these Italian-style stuffed artichokes to Senka, she remarked (with surprise) that it was nothing like what she expected from prior experience. Then she remarked that I should make them more often…
Working with fresh artichokes is definitely a challenge. The pointy outer leaves must be snipped, the stem must be peeled, and the thistly inedible innards must be scraped away with vigilance. [If you’re interested in doing this, I recommend studying one of the many illustrated guides online.] It’s also common practice to rub a wedge of lemon over shorn edges, which helps to prevent oxidization. With only 2 artichokes to stuff, I skipped this step.
For the stuffing, I mixed together a hearty pile of breadcrumbs, minced garlic, shredded parmesan cheese, Italian herbs, salt & pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil. I tucked the mixture into the gaps between leaves, plus down deep where the center “choke” was removed. I set my pair of artichokes in a shallow bath of white wine, covered the pan with foil (glass would probably have be better), and allowed for 30 minutes of oven braising. Toward the end, I removed the foil so as to crisp the breadcrumbs on top.
Stuffed artichokes are super fun to eat. You pluck one leaf at a time, then strip off the meaty underside with your teeth (and discard the rest). As you progress concentrically, each leaf yields increasingly more flesh. Exciting! Near the choke, however, the leaves become too thin to bother nibbling; at this point, you simply yank off the remainder and feast upon the delectable, dense heart. It’s not as gory as it sounds. In fact, I find it quite sensual, and rewarding after all that work.