Artichokes are one of those vegetables that I see at the Farmer’s Market and think, ‘Yes, I could take you home, but will I cook you? Or will you end up in the garbage can ten days from now making me feel guilty?’
But on Saturday when Violet and I went to the North Hollywood Farmer’s Market, she made a bee-line for the nearest table and picked up one of these:
And who can blame her? Look how cool they are! They look like goblets, or wands or something. When we brought them home, Violet carried one like a torch over to Richard to show him what we had bought.
So the pressure was on! I looked up my grandmother’s stuffed artichoke recipe in the master collection my cousin Anna created, and was dismayed to realize that it wasn’t in there! I guess she had made them from memory all those times. My sister Val remembered making them with Grandma, and that breadcrumbs, lemon and parsley were involved, but beyond that, nada.
But luckily, there was a stuffed artichoke recipe in my cupboard in the pages of a 2004 Vegetarian Times magazine (thanks Val & Walker, it had your mailing address label on it!) So I used that as the basic template and came up with this:
Stuffed Baked Artichokes
4 fresh artichokes
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped parsely
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
salt & pepper
1 medium tomato
First you have to cut the tops and stems off the artichokes and let them soak in lemony water. This is what the magazine referred to as ‘acidulated water,’ forcing me to look up that term in Google. Why can’t they just say lemon water? Come on, people. Anyway, I used 3 lemons because I have a gratuitous amount of lemons growing on a tree in my yard, but you could probably just use one. I’m new to this whole acidulation thing.
I let them soak for about an hour, because that’s the time it took to go pick up Violet and then get back to cooking. There was no indication in the magazine of how long they should soak. Anyway, an hour was long enough to soften them up enough to pry open the leaves and pluck out the spiny middle portion so that they looked like this:
Then I sauteed the onions, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper, put them in a bowl and mixed them well with the breadcrumbs.
The next step it to stuff that mixture into the artichokes, packing it between all the leaves and stuffing the middle. Chop the tomato and sprinkle it on top like this:
Bake the artichokes for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, covered in a baking dish with a bit of oil on the bottom and voila! Just like grandma used to make! By the way, I made 3 artichokes because there are only 3 of us and I found enough room for all the breadcrumbs. So you might want to step up the quantity if you are making four.