My Grammy's Stuffed Artichokes

A Stuffed Artichoke

2 jumbo artichokes
1 lemon, juiced
3 cups soft breadcrumbs
3 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 T capers
1 t crushed red pepper
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

In a large saucepan, combine 4 quarts of water with the lemon juice and lemon halves and bring to a boil. Add the artichokes and simmer for 20 minutes or until just tender.Drain and let cool. When artichokes are cool enough to handle, remove the outer layer of leaves. Slice the top 1/2 inch off the artichokes. Using scissors, cut the sharp tips off remaining leaves, removing about the top 1/4 inch of each leaf. Reach into the center of the artichokes and pull out the purple center leaves then use a grapefruit spoon to remove the spiny choke. Cut off the stem, peel and chop it.

Mix the remaining ingredients, adding the chopped stem. Stuff the artichokes lightly in their centers, t hen go around the artichoke and pull the leaves apart and put some of the stuffing between the leaves. Use all the stuffing.

Stand the stuffed artichokes in a heavy pan with a lid so that they just fit comfortably. Don't crowd them. Drizzle another 1/4 cup olive oil or so over the stuffed artichokes. Carefully pour some water in the pan to reach about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the artichokes, being careful not to get water into the stuffing. (You can add the water before the artichokes - about 1 inch.) Put the lid on the pan and cook the artichokes over low heat for another 20 - 30 minutes, just until they are tender.

Lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, and let them sit for a few minutes to drain. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

This is my Grandmothers version of stuffed artichokes. I suspect there are lots of versions on this theme. This recipe is how Mario Batalli's family makes stuffed artichokes Baked Stuffed Artichokes.

Seasonal Notes:

March: When we lived in San Jose we would often go down to Carmel or Monterey on winter weekends and drive past the artichoke fields in Castroville, the purported Artichoke Center of the World. It is said that the artichoke was first found on the island of Sicily. Whether or not that is true, they are certainly eaten often in Italy, and have been for centuries. I would be willing to guess that there are as many recipes for stuffed artichokes as there are households in southern Italy. This is the one my Grandmother always made.

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