This is my Dad's, Andrea Casolaro, recipe. To see my Mom's recipe for Baked Artichokes go HERE. Artichoke season is March – May. You will want large ones (for stuffing) with tight leaves and rather heavy for their size with a deep green color. The artichoke should squeak when you rub the leaves together. So now you can look like a real professional on your next artichoke shopping trip!
4 large artichokes
4 large fresh artichokes or 6 medium (freshness test: squeaky and heavy)
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 lemons (the zest of one and the juice of both)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic - finely minced or grated
salt and pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
Preparing the Artichokes:
First remove most of the tough outer leaves. You will think that there is not much left but don't worry there will be plenty. Here is a picture of how my Dad's looked after he removed the outer leaves.Next, chop off the bottom of the stem leaving just enough for it to be able to stand up in a pot. Now chop off the top of the very artichoke. Open up the leaves and makes room for the stuffing.
That pink part is the top part of the choke.
Make the Stuffing:
Mix all of the dry ingredients with the parsley,lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil. Stuff this into the middle of each and in between the leaves of each artichoke.
Steaming the Artichokes:
Now place a few inches of water, maybe 2-3, in pot. Add the lemon juice and drizzle some olive oil in. Bring this just to a boil and do not allow it to evaporate. Place the artichokes in making sure they are standing up and kind of snug and put the lid on. Lower it to a simmer and steam them for an hour. They will be tender when they are finished.
Sorry but I don't have a picture of the finished artichokes, they were snatched up too quickly!
To Eat: You place a leaf in your mouth with the pointy end out and scrape the "meat" off with your teeth. Next, you eat the stuffing, avoiding the choke. Now cut off the choke and eat the best part, the heart! It's not as hard as it seems. The choke looks kind of hairy and you will know that it's not edible.
Wine & Artichoke Pairing Note: Wine is very hard to pair with artichokes because the artichokes are so over bearing in flavor but beer or a simple sparkling white wine go well.