Oven-Steamed Stuffed Artichokes
Note about prepping the artichokes: When the artichokes are par-boiled, the center leaves and choke can be removed far more easily than trying to remove them raw. It also yields a more tender finished artichoke.
2 large artichokes (or 3 medium ones)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan or other hard cheese
1-2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1-2 teaspoons herbs of your choice (thyme, oregano, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare artichokes for stuffing: Cut the stems off the bottom of the artichokes (so they can sit flat in the pan later) and reserve. Slice off the top inch or so with a sharp knife, and snip the remaining sharp leaf tips off with scissors. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the artichokes, using a plate or bowl to keep them submerged. Lower the heat to a gentle boil for about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then rinse again.
When they’re cool, gently spread apart the artichoke and pull out the center cone of leaves. It should come out all in one piece. Then gently scrape the center inside down to the smooth choke. If you see symmetrical small dots, you’re not done — keep scraping, but be gentle so as not to cut into the choke. You want the inside bottom to be smooth, not dotted or bumpy. You need a pretty sharp spoon for this, like the edge of a thin metal measuring spoon, or a grapefruit spoon.
Prepare stuffing: Heat butter and oil in skillet on medium-high. Add the shallot, garlic, bread crumbs, herbs (but not the parsley), salt and pepper, and cook for about five minutes until they’re mixed and browned, stirring regularly to prevent burning. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and grated cheese.
Stuff artichokes: Spoon about a tablespoon or two of stuffing into the center cavity, and then gently spread apart the leaves and spoon about a teaspoon or so of stuffing between each leaf. Drizzle each artichoke with two or three tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with remaining grated cheese, and set in an appropriately-sized baking dish.
Cook stuffed artichokes: Pour one cup of water into the dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake in a 400-degree oven until a leaf can be pulled out easily, and/or you can easily pierce the artichoke base with a knife (this can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, depending on the artichokes’ size.
Originally published in “Never Fear Artichokes, The Tastiest Thistles”