Thursday, May 17, 2012
Finally! Artichokes show up maybe one to two weeks a year in my store and this time I snagged some. I was thrilled. The problem? I had no idea what to do with them.
My only experience with artichokes was from a jar. I had only eaten the marinated hearts and when I told my mom I bought a whole artichoke she said, "You can't eat that!" I replied, "Really?" She said, "No... you can't eat that! Just the hearts, Suzie."
So confusing! Friends on Facebook who I adore and chat with almost every day suggested stuffing them. OK, if you stuff it, then you must eat it, right?
I found this recipe for Roasted Stuffed Artichokes and I was completely seduced by the photographs. I adore roasted vegetables and stuffing them sounded like a genus idea to me. When I told Reg what I was making he said, "That sounds like something I won't like." I sighed and said, "I know."
I chopped off the stem but left enough to keep the artichoke together.
I trimmed the remaining surrounding leaves with scissors. (I had seen that on Martha Stewart's show years ago). I continued to cut off the very top tips. The recipe just said to chop off the "top part" and there were no photos so I had to wing it.
It also said nothing about cleaning them and, ahem, hello... I clean everything! I bounced and jostled them in a bowl of clean water.
This is one of the reasons I chose the recipe. I found it fascinating that she decided not to scoop out the middle leaves to remove the fuzzy "choke". Instead she cut into the side and used a knife to get to it. I used a melon baller to remove the choke which easily came out.
The inside really does brown right away. I can see why some people immediately put them in acidulated water.
I made my own beautiful stuffing inspired by the recipe but it created way too much. BTW, if you do try this recipe, you will not need 1 cup of breadcrumbs. I hate waste. I would cut the entire stuffing for the recipe in half.
Yup, way too much for two artichokes! Holy crap!
But I did it. I stuffed it into each and every nook and cranny, not wanting to waste it but there was still a ton leftover.
Her method of cooking worried me. Every tutorial I watched on YouTube pretty much steamed the hell out of the artichokes before roasting. Yet, this was one of the reasons I wanted to try this recipe. It was different. Will I ever learn?
I doubled the amount of warm broth she put on the bottom because I was worried the vessel would run dry even with the top on. The one major mistakes that was totally my bad was forgetting to drizzle with olive oil. I put this in a 375F oven for 90 minutes.
Talk about scorched earth veggies! Oh dear. They were so dark, dry and horrid I could barely capture a photo at all.
Being a fearless foodie, I managed to tear a leaf off and try and eat it. For at least two minutes. Fibrous, dry, my fabulous stuffing tasted terrible... I ended up giving up. I did the one smart thing I could. Listen to my mom and dig out the heart. That was edible.
I later got an email from my foodie friend Jane who wrote... scrape the end of the leave through your teeth - you are only eating the "meat" at the end of the leaf.
No way! Well that made a hell of a lot more sense to me and again, Mom was right. As always.
Heeeeeelp me, help me, help me!
And no, I did not dare let Reg even see these monstrosity. He would never go near it in his lifetime if I had and of course, I am going to try to make them again. If I can find them.
For those artichoke aficionados out there, a little advice would totally rock because I obviously do not know what the hell I am doing.