I remember throughout licking the tasty breadcrumbs off the outer, tougher artichoke leaves, being sure that each one was licked clean and no breadcrumbs were left. As I neared the top center of the artichoke I always began to pick up the pace and hurriedly I would rush, discarding the tougher leaves as I went to reach the anticipated center, tightly packed with moistened breadcrumbs which safely protected the tender and soft heart. I remember these tasty stuffed artichokes always being delicious and always being a crowd pleaser at the dinner table, receiving the the highest satisfactions from guests who showed their approval for the side dish by carefully dissecting the artichoke to savor the immense flavor in each bite only breaking the silence to moan in ecstasy.
Two years ago when we went to Italy my Mom was on an Artichoke kick, tempted by the delicious vegetable, she ordered Artichokes at just about every restaurant we dined in.
It was in Florence where we tried fried artichoke for the first time ever, expertly prepared by our family friend Roberta, an amazing Italian cook. She floured the artichokes and lightly fried them in olive oil, creating a simply prepared delicious side dish of crispy, browned artichoke, which we chowed down as if they were potato chips, only stopping once the plate was empty.
In Rome we were served artichokes with long thin stems, which were delicately marinated and left to simmer in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, and lemon. It was here in Rome that I first tried an artichoke stem and was amazed to find that the intimidating stem was actually quite tender and very similar to the heart of the artichoke.
I even had artichoke hearts on my pizza in Como in Italy
You'll find that my artichoke recipe combines methods from my two favorite types of ways to prepare artichokes. I took my my Mom's stuffed artichoke recipe and enhanced it by incorporating sauteed garlic, onions, and chopped piece of the artichoke stem. I then used a very simple mixture of white wine, vegetable stock and lemon juice to simmer the artichokes in ( inspired by delicious marinated artichokes in Rome). Once the artichokes are through simmering and are extremely tender, I lightly pour the flavorful sauce over the artichokes to keep the breadcrumbs moist and add extra flavor to the the dish dish.
I have to say that this recipe turned out wonderfully the combination of herbs in the breadcrumbs mixed with the flavors of white wine and acidic lemon provided a potent punch of flavor with each bite! This is an extremely easy recipe to make especially if your planning a holiday get together or gathering , adding this to the menu is sure to leave your guests completely satisfied! You might even receive quite a few recipe requests!
1 medium sized artichoke
1/2 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (or follow my recipe below for homemade breadcrumbs)
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/4 cup of vidalia onion finely chopped
1 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 cup of white wine
1 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
Ingredients for Homemade Breadcrumbs
10-12 slices of a crispy style loaf of bread I used 5 grain Italian bread)
1 tbsp of rosemary
1/2 tbsp of garlic powder
1/2 tbsp of oregano
1/2 tsp of parsley
1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes
Method for preparing breadcrumbs
prepare bread, thinly slice 10-12 slices of bread (I chose to use a 5 grain Italian loaf but any crispy type of bread will work). Place slices of bread on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side) or until bread becomes crispy
Let cool, then tear 3 to 4 slices of bread into bite size pieces and place in a blender or food processor
Add in ½ tbsp of rosemary, garlic powder, oregano, parsley, and red pepper flakes
Pulse for 2 to 3 minutes until bread resembles bread crumbs ( you can either choose to use coarse bread crumbs or continue to pulse for longer if you prefer fine breadcrumbs). Repeat this step until you have used up all the bread
You will only need 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, so feel free to set additional breadcrumbs aside, store in an airtight container and use at another time
Begin by preparing the artichoke, thoroughly scrub the artichoke
Next cut off the stem , reserve stem you will use this later in the recipe
Slice the tip of the artichoke
Using a pair of scissors trim the tops of the outer artichoke leaves
Using your fingers spread open the leaves of the artichoke, hold the base of the artichoke and gently push down to open up leaves
Use your fingers to reach into the inside of the artichoke and pull out the choke (the prickly center)
Set artichoke aside and prepare your breadcrumb mixture. peel and chop and artichoke stem, (most people throw out this part of the artichoke out, however the stem happens to be one of the best parts of the artichoke and once cooked it is just as tender as the heart).
In a saute pan heat olive oil over low to medium heat, add in garlic, onions, and chopped artichoke stem, saute until garlic becomes fragrant
Add garlic and onion mixture to bread crumbs, mix together and add in 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice to moisten bread crumbsusing a spoon begin to stuff the artichoke. Stuff artichoke with about 1 tsp to 2 tsp of breadcrumb mixture, begin with the outer leaves and and work your way in.
In a sauce pan heat vegetable stock, white wine and remaining 1 tbsp of lemon juice, let come to a boil Once artichoke has been stuffed, place it upright in the liquid ( the bottom of the artichoke is the only part that should be submerged in liquid) lower heat to low, cover artichoke and let simmer for 1 hour, make sure to check every 20 minutes, add more liquid if necessary so that bottom of artichoke doesn't burn. After one hour has passed carefully remove artichoke from liquid, set in a side bowl and pour the flavorful liquid over artichoke, let cool for 3-5 minutes and serve warm