BLACK & WHITE BAKED STUFFED ARTICHOKES

ARTICHOKES SINGLE SERVING

BLACK & WHITE BAKED STUFFED ARTICHOKES

Black and white fresh breadcrumbs mixed with cashew crumbles, garlic and lemon. Stuffed in pre-cooked fresh, whole artichokes and baked till steaming hot!

Makes 2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Artichokes.

2 fresh whole artichokes

Slice stems off flush with artichoke bottoms. Trim stems.

Peel off and discard large, blemished outer leaves.

Slice off 1 inch from top of artichokes.

Using kitchen shears, snip off 1/4 – 1/2 inch from tip of each petal, removing prickly tip.

Place artichokes and stems in large pot of salted water. Bring to boil, cover and cook till petals separate easily from crown when pulled – this could take 20 minutes or 40 minutes. The fresher the artichoke, the quicker it cooks. If you’ve cooked the artichokes an hour and the inner side of the petals are still dry and rough, then you bought old artichokes that had already started drying out. Look for crisp and firm, not soft and dry.

When done, lift artichokes from water and drain upside down on wire rack till ready to stuff.

Stuffing.

2 slices black bread, broken into pieces

1 white soft-crusted roll, broken into pieces

3-4 peeled garlic cloves, coarsely cut

1/4 c. cashew crumbles (process 1-2 c. cashews in food processor till evenly crumbly and oil just begins to leak from the cashews, or place in paper bag and pulverize with flat side of hammer or heavy skillet bottom – reserve leftover crumbles in sealed jar for other use)

1/4 t. salt

2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil

fresh lemon squeeze

Place black bread pieces, white roll pieces and garlic in food processor. Process till mealy.

Add cashew crumbles and salt, then process till distributed.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add crumbs all at once, stirring to coat evenly. Cook till lightly golden, then add a couple squeezes of fresh lemon juice. Stir, salt to taste.

Place cooked artichokes in baking dish along with the stems. Gently spoon stuffing between petals till gone.

Add about 1/3 cup water to bottom of dish.

Drizzle tops of the artichokes and stuffing with a little olive oil.

Using 2 pieces of aluminum foil, wrap tightly around dish, going in opposite directions, to keep the steam generated while baking from escaping.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Using large spoon lift artichokes gently from baking dish, to serving bowls – along with stems. Serve immediately.

ARTICHOKES, HOW TO EAT. Peel petals, one at a time, from crown. Then, while holding tip between forefinger and thumb, draw petal through clenched teeth, while scraping tender inner side over bottom front teeth.

It may take two or three times to get all the meat off. Then discard petal and take another. You may also split petal in half lengthwise and follow the same procedure. The petals become more tender as you approach the center. Yet, at the very center they become bitter and unsuitable to eat; discard these.

After removing all petals, notice a circle of hair-like fibers running perpendicular to the rim. Cut under these with a knife; lift out and discard. The artichoke bottom remains. Trim; cut and eat.

Now, peel the stem; cut and eat as you did the bottom. Although a bit more fibrous, the stem is tender and as flavorful–an added treat that some chefs discard. If you notice that your grocer cuts these stems off when prepping the artichokes for sale, request that she/he not.

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