Baked And Stuffed Artichokes

In less than a week I will go to New York with my boyfriend and a friend. I’m not sure what they have on their itinerary but I have a very long list of places to eat and get inspired. We also went last year (we made this video at Smorgasburg http://makkis-mash.com/smorgasburg/) and of course we ate a lot of yummy stuff then too. One of the last nights we were wandering the streets of Williamsburg looking for a place to eat. It was a beautiful warm night of early fall and we wanted to sit outside, just like everyone else. We were borderline hangry when we finally found a place that looked decent and had free seats. I think we shared a salad of some sort, but what stuck in my mind is a baked and stuffed artichoke! It was rich in flavour with cheese and breadcrumbs on top. I thought for a long time (well almost a year!) that I should try to recreate this dish, and now I will. Artichokes are in season now, so this was a good opportunity to play around with some flavours and create my own baked and stuffed artichokes.

You can either buy bigger artichokes and serve this as a light main course with a side salad, or use smaller ones and make this as a starter. I am a big fan of food you are allowed to eat with your hands, and takes a long time to eat. I think this is great for a dinner party or for a date, so you can just sit for a long time and talk in between each bite. If it’s a first date, you might want to go easy on the garlic…And don’t forget to eat the heart of the artichoke, just remove the „fur“ before you enjoy it.

What you need:

2 artichokes (1 per person)
1 shallot
1 garlic clove
1 third of a chili fruit
3 tablepoons of dry white wine
4 tablepoons of nuts (I used cashew and walnuts)
1 lemon
ca 80 g Pecorino cheese
3 table spoons bread crumbs (I use spelt once but would prefer panko)
salt& pepper

How to do it:
Start by rinsing the artichokes in water . Remove the small leaves (if the have sharp little horns) at the bottom and cut off the stem. If the leaves on the artichoke have little horns at the end of them, scissor and cut of the tips with a scissor. This also looks pretty! Also slice off the tip of the whole artichoke (about 2 cm), this will make it easier to stuff them later.

Cook for 25 to 45 minutes (depending on size) or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. I put a stainless steel bowl and something to weigh it down on top of the artichokes so that they are under water during the whole cooking time. There might be some professional equipment for this purpose but I don’t own anything like that so, just improvise! Remove the artichokes from the water and let them drain upside down for a little while until they are less wet.

You can prepare the stuffing while the artichokes are cooking! Start but finely chopping the onion, garlic, and chili Let these three sweat in olive oil in a medium hot pan until translucent, then add the wine, and some salt and pepper. It’s done when the wine has steamed off a bit but it should still be juicy. Blend the nuts and the cheese together until it’s finely grated, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Mix it together with bread crumbs, salt, pepper and zest from half a lemon.

Put the cooked artichokes on an oven tray with parchment paper underneath, and stuff the onion mix in the artichokes. Make sure it is evenly spread out in the middle and between the leaves. Then you top with the cheese, nut and breadcrumb mix, this should also be somewhat evenly dispersed.

Bake the artichokes in the middle of a preheated oven (200°C) for about 15 minutes or until the top is golden and it looks like the cheese melted.

Serve with lemon wedges so each guest can squeeze some fresh lemon juice over their artichokes. And, don’t forget the napkins! Enjoy your food, and date!

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