Saturday, March 17, 2012
My inspiration for stuffed artichokes comes from my mom's old neighbor, Tony, a man who, although he has been in The US and Canada since he was 19 years old, still sounds like he just got off the boat from Palermo. The first time I had one of his stuffed artichokes was a number of years ago when he invited us to his house for dinner. I was more than a little eager having heard about some of the wonderful things he made. I was not disappointed. After snacking on various veggies, bread, cheese and salami, we were ushered into the dining room where we were met with a huge platter of very large artichokes bursting with a stuffing of breadcrumbs, garlic, cheese and peas. Satisfied and ready for some after dinner chat and wine, I was astonished when Tony and his wife, Jillian, excused themselves to fetch the entree.
Yes, this is the Italian way, or at least the Sicilian way, as I later learned. When one course is finished, another is brought to the table. (Several years after, I would encounter the same practice in Sicily and be just as amazed each time it occurred.)
These are big enough to make a perfect luncheon or a light supper. Anyway you decided to do it, I hope you will celebrate Spring this time around by serving these stuffed artichokes.
1 1/2 cups plain, dry breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino cheese
Chili flakes (optional)
Mix the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, anchovies and salt and pepper together. Add enough olive oil to moisten.
Holding the stem, smash each artichoke against the counter top to open up the leaves. With a teaspoon, dig out the inedible choke in the center and discard.
Remove the stems. Peel and finely dice and add to breadcrumb mixture.
Add the peas and cheese.
Fill between leaves and inner cavity.
Drizzle with some olive oil and place upright in the bottom of a pan.
Add enough water to come up about 2 inches.
Sprinkle with chili flakes (if using) in the water and turn on heat. Once the water boils, turn it down to a simmer and steam for 40-45 min adding more water if needed.