To prepare artichokes, pull off the very bottom leaves, then trim each leaf, cutting straight across the tops. Slice about an inch off the very top of the artichoke. Pour a few inches of water in a large pan and bring it to a boil. Drop in artichokes, a few peeled cloves of garlic, some lemon slices, and a bay leaf. Simmer for about 45 minutes. They are ready when the bottom leaves peel off easily. While artichokes are cooking, prepare the stuffing.
- 1 large tomato, (peel, seed, and juice the tomato; dice the meaty portion)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 lemon – juiced and zested
- 1 Tbsp. chopped red onion
- 1 tsp. capers
- 1 Tbsp. fresh basil (chopped)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh mint (chopped)
- ½ baguette loaf, shredded and toasted
- Extra virgin olive oil- enough for drizzling
- Mix together all ingredients except baguette toasts and olive oil. (Wait until you’re ready to stuff the artichokes before adding the bread to the tomato mixture.)
- Drizzle olive oil over the toast crisps. Variation: I have experimented with using a blood-orange extra virgin olive oil with great success.
- When the artichokes are ready, turn upside down to drain. When cool enough to handle, pull back the center leaves, exposing the inedible, fuzzy choke.
- Scrape out the choke, revealing the artichoke heart. Open up the leaves and add the stuffing mixture.
- Have a side dish of melted butter with lemon juice for dipping – half a stick of butter with the juice of half a lemon.
- ARTICHOKE BUYING AND STORING TIP: Look for artichokes with a deep, green color and tight leaf formation. Store them unwashed and loose in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for up to four days. Avoid keeping them in plastic bags as increased moisture content will lead to rotting.
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