Stuffed Artichokes with Romano and Oregano
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, artichokes were everywhere–we even had them growing in my grandparents’ garden. There was a truck farm across the street from my high school, and I remember purchasing them for a nickel each. On meatless Fridays (remember them?), Mom would often serve artichokes with lots of mayonnaise, cracked crab, and sourdough bread, which is still probably my favorite meal in the world. I usually make these meatless to serve as an appetizer or side dish, although I provide a prosciutto variation.
These stuffed artichokes y really stand out when the main course is on the simple side—marinated and grilled veal chops, for example. Another of this recipe’s many attributes is that it is equally delicious served hot or at room temperature. Use moderately sized artichokes because the big ones take forever to cook and won’t fit in the average home kitchen stockpot. Serve with grilled steaks, pork chops, roast or grilled leg of lamb, grilled lamb chops, grilled veal chops. Make Ahead: The artichokes can be made up to 1 day ahead.
- 2 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs, made slightly stale crusty bread
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese (3 ounces)
- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 artichokes (about 8 ounces each)
- 1 lemon, cut in half, for rubbing the artichokes
- lemon wedges, for serving
- Mix the bread crumbs, cheese, ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of the oil, oregano, and garlic in a medium bowl. Season the stuffing to taste with salt and pepper.
- If necessary, cut the stem from each artichoke so it sits flat. Cut the top inch from each artichoke. Using kitchen scissors, snip off the thorny leaf tips. Rub the artichokes all over with the lemon halves. Place an artichoke on a plate, top up. Work around the artichoke to spread the leaves open—do not bother with the thin leaves that form the core of the artichoke. Force one-quarter of the stuffing between the leaves as well as possible, patting any excess stuffing over the top of the artichoke.
- Choose a large, wide saucepan large enough to hold the artichokes. Pour in enough cold water to come ½ inch up the sides of the pot. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the oil and with 2 teaspoons salt. Stand the artichokes, bottoms down, in the pot. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the tops of the artichokes. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, adding hot water as needed to the stockpot if the water cooks way, until a leaf can be easily pulled from the bottom layer of an artichoke, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
- Using long tongs, transfer the artichokes to the baking sheet. Bake until the stuffing is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot or cooled to room temperature, with the lemon wedges.
Stuffed Artichokes with Prosciutto and Parmesan: Substitute Parmesan cheese for the Romano. Add 1/2 slice thin (but not paper thin) prosciutto, finely chopped, to the bread crumb mixture.
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