The recipe for Italian stuffed artichokes was introduced to me a few weeks ago by my friend Val Struck, owner of Good Life Food and Events, Catering.
It took only one bite for me to decided that this is my new favorite preparation for the tender, leafy vegetable, and I’ve been craving the perfect combination of flavors ever since.
Served with a crisp white wine, the creamy artichoke marries perfectly with the crisp Italian style bread crumbs. The dish makes for a wonderful appetizer however, I could eat mine as an entree, it’s that good!
A little California Artichoke History:
It was the Spanish settlers who brought the artichoke to California. Some artichoke plants were in the gardens of European immigrants.
California’s first artichoke fields grew south of San Francisco, near the town of Half Moon Bay, in the early 1920s.
In 1922, Andrew Molera planted the first artichoke shoots in Castroville. Angelo Del Chiaro, Egidio Maracci, Daneil Pieri, and Amerigo Del Chiaro subsequently leased 150 acres of land and grew artichokes.
In 1923, there were nine artichoke growers. Within four years, there were over 50 growers and 12,000 acres of artichokes growing in Castroville, and in the Monterey Bay area.
In 1924 Daniel Pieri, Amerigo Del Chiaro, Angelo Del Chiaro, Alfred Tottino, and James Bellone formed the “California Artichoke and Vegetable Growers Corporation.” In 1995, they renamed the company to “Ocean Mist Farms.” Source: Wikipedia
- Artichokes were named California’s official vegetable on April 10, 2013. California growers boast 99.99% production of all commercially grown artichokes in the United States. Source: Artichokes.org
- 4 large artichokes (6 smaller artichokes for more people)
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 3/4 cups bread crumbs (can be made from scratch with leftover bread)
- 3/4 cups, plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup, plus 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Hot water
- Heat oven to 425 degrees
- Cut artichoke stems to create flat bottom. Cut away tough outer skin of the stem and finely chop the stems. Sprinkle with lemon juice to keep from browning
- Remove tough outer leaves of artichoke. Slice the top third off, and with scissors, cut sharp tips of remaining leaves. Rub bottom of artichokes with lemon. Spread leaves to make space for stuffing
- Combine chopped stems, breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and combine until moistened
- Starting from the bottom leaves, use your hand to stuff the mixture in and between leaves. Push the stuffing downward into leaves as you work your way around to the top of the artichoke
- Place artichokes in a baking dish and pour 1 inch hot water around the artichoke bottoms. Drizzle each artichoke with 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Rub one side of foil with olive oil and place foil (oil side down) over artichokes and secure tightly
- Bake for 45 minutes OR until a fork slides easily into the base
- Remove foil. Sprinkle artichokes with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and broil tops until golden brown (watch while broiling)
- Serve hot or at room temperature
- Artichokes can be cut into halves and served on salad plates. Remind guests to remove the Choke before eating the heart.