Sometimes I would get home from school and see a bunch of foil-wrapped, ball-shaped packets on the stove. I would get excited because I knew what was in them: stuffed artichokes. Oh, how I loved when my mother made stuffed artichokes!
The funny thing is that I hated artichokes. It may have been the weirdest vegetable I ever saw as a kid. For me, its only purpose was as a vessel to hold the delicious bread crumb stuffing that tasted so good.
Mom instructed: you pull off a leaf, hold it by the tip and eat the stuffing while scraping the artichoke off with your teeth. My way: I pulled off a leaf, held it by the tip and ate the stuffing while carefully avoiding the leaf with my teeth. Worked for me. The stuffing was delicious. I would eat every bit and then hand the rest of my artichoke over to my Dad who ate the hearts (yuck!). What was the point of eating the parts that held no stuffing?
Today, like so many other foods I swore I hated, I love artichokes. In particular, I adore artichoke hearts and can eat them plain, raw, out of a can, however. When it comes to the whole artichoke, I still think the stuffing is essential. There are a lot of methods out there but I make these Overstuffed Artichokes the way my Mother made them. First, I steam them to soften them while I cook up the stuffing. Then after stuffing the leaves, I bake them for a little bit. When they are done, I even wrap each one in foil until I am ready to serve them, just like Mom did.
My Overstuffed Artichokes look like beautiful flowers. Maybe instead of the usual roses, you can surprise someone special with a bouquet of artichokes this Mother’s Day. Enjoy!
Trim the artichokes. First cut the stem so that the artichoke can sit upright. Then, starting at the base, bend the tough outer leaves back until they break off. With kitchen scissors, trim the tops of the remaining leaves.
Fill a pot half-way with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the artichokes and the lemon peel. Cover and simmer until the bottoms of the artichokes are fork-tender, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. Remove from the water, sit them upside down to drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is golden brown and starting to crisp. Do not let it burn. Remove the garlic from the oil. Add the bread crumbs and toast until just browned a bit, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the grated parmesan or nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and parsley. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take each artichoke and place it top-side down on the cutting board. Press down gently on the base with your palm. This will make the leaves open so you can fill them more easily. With a small spoon, fill the leaves with the bread crumb mixture. Be generous and let it overflow. When you have filled all the leaves, place the stuffed artichokes in a small baking dish. Either drizzle them with a bit more oil or use cooking spray. Bake for about 15 minutes until they are browned and crispy. Serve while hot.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.