I've always loved artichokes, and I've always enjoyed them the easy way: steamed and then dipped in aioli. Maybe twice have I bothered to snip off all the little thorns and clean out the center choke before cooking them. It's nice, sure, but hardly worth the effort. I highly recommend that you try artichokes the lazy way at least once.
This way of preparing artichokes was more work, but the results were so beautiful that I think it's worth the effort. My father-in-law made these for dinner one night, and halfway through watching him make these I realized this would be either disgusting or brilliant. I wisely started taking pictures just in case. This is a variation on what I think is a classic artichoke recipe, but it takes a huge creative risk and throws in a bizarre assortment of things I promise you never before associated with an artichoke. The results were wonderful. Whether or not I follow this recipe closely, once I saw this done I realized the possibilities and now lie awake nights dreaming up what bizarre combination I will try that will make me rich and famous.
I will not include amounts since all you do is sprinkle a little of each filling in. I had never had this and I stuffed these with the help of a small child; I don't think you can mess this up. The original version had just slivers of garlic and parmesan in it, so if the lunch meat sounds too over the top, you can always try it that way. However, having that little bit of meat in it made it feel like a more complete meal. (As I type this, my husband is telling me how disgusting this sounds. Rest assured, it was really good.) I might try this with leftover ham soon.
parmesan, either grated or chopped
shredded turkey lunch meat (!)
chopped green onion
garlic flavored hoisin sauce (!!)
If you've never cleaned an artichoke before, you begin by taking a pair of scissors and cutting off the thorns. When you get to the thin "petals" toward the center, do your best to cut the thorns off and then clean out the fuzzy part by scraping it out with a spoon. Artichokes begin to oxidize right away, so a lot of people throw them into a bowl of cold water with lemon juice added, but the oxidation doesn't affect the flavor so it's up to you. The stems can be eaten too after you peel off the tough outer stem.
Open the petals up a little. One at a time, sprinkle in first the garlic, then the parmesan, the turkey, parsley and green onion. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top, then add a drizzle of olive oil, and then a drizzle of the garlic flavored hoisin.
Drizzle some olive oil in a pot and put the artichokes and their stems in. Add about an inch of water and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to let the water simmer, cover the pot, and wait. The artichokes are done when the outer leaves can be pulled off easily. Usually the artichoke holds its shape, but the one in the picture below didn't and it was DELICIOUS.
And if you would like to try the traditional version, here is a note from my mother-in-law, on how to prepare traditional Sicilian artichokes that my husband grew up with- also excellent.
I prepare them the same way, but I only use garlic slivers, parmesan cheese slivers around the leaves and salt/pepper and parsley on top. In the pot I add water to half way up the artichoke and steam them for 45m to 1 hour. I found to only use male artichokes with the pointy leaves. They are tastier. Don't know why. :)
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