From a culinary medicine standpoint, this Mediterranean native of the thistle family, mainly grown in California, is a calorie bargain when you consider its meaty richness in addition to vitamin C, folate, magnesium and fiber (6 grams for a large artichoke). Their season begins in March and tapers off in summer before it comes back for a second season in September and October.
For some of us, artichokes—those big green gnarly hand grenades of the vegetable world such as those used in this Classic Stuffed Artichokes recipe—bring back memories of the springtime holidays of our childhood. Stuffed with tasty breadcrumbs, drizzled with olive oil, and served on decorative platters, it was like trying to eat lobster–how would one get all of that delicious veggie meat out of those intricate layers?
Developing this recipe reacquainted us with the steps required to prep the bulbous artichoke for cooking and eating.
- Remove the lower leaves near the stem until the light green ones are visible.
- Trim the tips of the leaves with stainless steel kitchen sheers (carbon causes discoloration) to remove the pointy ends.
- Cut down the stem evenly so it will be able to sit up straight in the pot you steam them in.
Instead of using the classic breadcrumb stuffing we subbed in bulgur wheat and seasoned them with the fresh flavors of parsley and mint.
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- Mediterranen Stuffed Artichokes
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 globe artichokes
- 1 cup bulgur wheat cooked according to package directions
- 1 (6 oz) package crumbled feta cheese
- ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
- ⅓ cup mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped oil cured sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to a boil. Trim stems by removing the lower outer leaves and cutting off the top third of artichokes. Add artichokes to pot and boil 25 minutes. Remove artichokes with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water. Turn upside down onto paper towels and let drain 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 400°. To prepare stuffing, combine remaining ingredients with reserved tablespoon lemon juice.
- Place drained artichokes in a small baking dish. Divide stuffing evenly among artichokes, filling between leaves. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.
Tip: Aside from cooking them in a pot they will fit snugly into, make sure it’s not aluminum or cast-iron since these metals will discolor the artichokes.
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