Sunday, April 24, 2011

Artichokes, Found!

After visiting a couple different supermarkets, and getting all kinds of responses to our inquiries like, they're not in yet, not in season, just out... artichokes were finally found! I was bound and determined to have them for Easter, as Spring is when they're in season and they've always been a favorite family snack, going back to when I was little, and I wanted to revisit that bit of nostalgia. My parents would steam one, then place on the table with just a simple scoop of mayo to the side and we'd dig in. It was always a treat to divide up the heart too at the end, with 3 little girls usually fighting for a piece.

This being my first Easter back home in a while, and never knowing where I'll be next year I wanted to recreate this simple dish to share with my family. But then I read this article and got more ideas. And in my quest to find just one, any artichokes at all, my idea expanded and when I finally did find them (thank you SA Whole Foods), I took home 3.

I steamed one, as I described above but the other 2 I wanted to experiment on. What would it hurt, as we already had the one, right? And I just love this particular dish because unlike most of my other recipes which are mostly me making tweaks to someone else's food or are a family dish I've been doing for years, this was a completely fly by the seat of your pants concoction. Of course I'd eyed a recipe and had actually eaten them before, but followed any type of anything ... nope. If we had actual breadcrumbs I would've been following a recipe but in lieu of those I just went with my gut for flavors I knew would mesh well. And the results were pretty darn good.

Stuffed Artichoke
1 artichoke- steamed until slightly yielding
1 package of butter crackers (about 10-15)- like Ritz
2 Tbl. hard sharp cheese, finely grated- like parmigiana or manchego
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. rosemary
2-3 Tbl olive oil

1. Cut top part of leaves off (the sharp part) all around. This will help the artichoke open. Steam if you haven't already. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine crackers, cheese, Worcestershire, mustard and herbs in a food processor and grate to a fine consistency. Slowly add in the olive oil (through the top while grating if possible, almost like a pesto) until mixture is just barely wet and comes together loosely.

3. Set artichoke in bowl and open up leaves as much as possible. Spoon the cracker mixture over and try to get in as many crevices as possible. If there is any left just pour over. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes uncovered. Topping will be brown and golden but not dry. Serve immediately.

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