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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stuffed Baby Artichokes with Lemon Vinaigrette

I made these for my parents when I visited the fishing camp way down in South Louisiana, near the Gulf of Mexico.  It is one of my favorite places in the world.  A place where you leave the real world behind as you sit out on the deck and watch the shrimp boats heading down the canal into the Gulf to troll for their catch all night.  And my parents are just the best - it doesn't matter what I dream up to cook, they always seem to be up for it! 

Before our "fishing" weekends, we stop and load up on groceries along the way.  I found these adorable baby artichokes! And my oh my... these were delicious! 
They are not immature versions of the larger ones, but actually fully grown in their own right.  Ask your grocer as they are not the "normal" globe artichokes.  They are mostly edible except for the outer leaves, and barely have a "choke" (the fuzzy stuff you scrape out) at all.  - and they are so cute and delicious!
Aren't they adorable?  They fit perfectly into the palm of your hand.  Figure one per person for dinner.  Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 Trim off about an inch of the stem and the outer third or so of the leaves... the prickly parts.

Cut off the top - about an inch and a half.  Make sure you have some acidulated water ready.  As soon as you cut them, you will want to put them in the bath so they don't oxidize and turn brown.  These will brown faster than an apple or banana, so let them bathe!  I used some limes in the water bath since I was limited in the amount of lemons I had.
 Taking a bath...
This one is a bit out of order, but I started grating the Parmigiano reggiano for my topping while trying to decide which kind of pan I was going to use.
Okay, so back on track here... Cut the little guys in half and immediately rub the cut edges with a lemon to prevent browning.
Scoop out the choke (any fuzzies in there).. and make more room for the topping!  Yum.  Actually, after this photo, we figured out that a small (1/8 tsp) measuring spoon was exactly the right size to scoop out a nice round spot.  It worked much like a little melon baller would.
 See how nice and round the hollowed out area is? 
Now back to the topping...  freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano (the King of cheeses, you know), fresh bread crumbs (we just threw some french bread into the blender.. they were perfect), salt, pepper, a clove of finely chopped garlic, and a few sprigs of thyme, stripped from the stems.  Moisten the mixture with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a few tablespoons of milk or cream.  You just want it to stick together and be kind of crumbly.
Stuff the topping between the leaves and into that cavity that you created.  Then add more on top.  Yum.

I decided on a black iron skillet to get the job done.
Drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil on top.  Add a little water to the bottom of the pan to help steam them and throw them into the oven.
 Start working on the lemon vinaigrette:  It's very easy. 
  • lemon zest
  • 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley
    • ** tip... heat the lemon about 20 seconds in the microwave before cutting it.  This will give you a lot more juice.
 Bake the artichokes uncovered for 15 min at 350 degrees F; then 15 min for 365 degrees F. 
Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette over the artichokes if desired.  If you dining with someone who doesn't appreciate the lemon as much, you can just serve it on the side.
 And this was the final product.  We LOVED them.
While this may look like an ordinary meal here, I just want to mention some things.  First, the artichokes were amazing!  Second, we picked those gorgeous home grown creole tomatoes up from a little produce stand on the side of the road.  So juicy and perfect.  (Thank God I live in the South!!) The French bread was made fresh and was still hot when we bought it.... And finally, the trout almondine on the left is freshly caught speckled trout from right there at the fishing camp.  You just don't get any fresher or better than this!!  When we shop so frequently at a grocery store, I think its easy to forget sometimes the wonderful bounty of the land around us!

Order your Menu Musings Cookbook!
 
Written Method:


Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Trim off about an inch of the stem and the outer third or so of the leaves... the prickly parts.  Cut off the top - about an inch and a half.  Make sure you have some acidulated water ready.  As soon as you cut them, you will want to put them in the bath so they don't oxidize and turn brown.  These will brown faster than an apple or banana, so let them bathe!  I used some limes in the water bath since I was limited in the amount of lemons I had.  Cut the little guys in half and immediately rub the cut edges with a lemon to prevent browning.  Scoop out the choke (any fuzzies in there).. and make more room for the topping!  Yum.  Actually, after this photo, we figured out that a small (1/8 tsp) measuring spoon was exactly the right size to scoop out a nice round spot.  It worked much like a little melon baller would.

I started grating the Parmigiano reggiano for my topping while trying to decide which kind of pan I was going to use.... freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano (the King of cheeses, you know), fresh bread crumbs (we just threw some french bread into the blender.. they were perfect), salt, pepper, a clove of finely chopped garlic, and a few sprigs of thyme, stripped from the stems.  Moisten the mixture with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a few tablespoons of milk or cream.  You just want it to stick together and be kind of crumbly.  Stuff the topping between the leaves and into that cavity that you created.  Then add more on top.  Yum.

I decided on a black iron skillet to get the job done.  Drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil on top.  Add a little water to the bottom of the pan to help steam them and throw them into the oven.

Start working on the lemon vinaigrette:  It's very easy. 
  • lemon zest
  • 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley
    • ** tip... heat the lemon about 20 seconds in the microwave before cutting it.  This will give you a lot more juice.
 Bake the artichokes uncovered for 15 min at 350

8 comments:

  1. Great blog, love the step by step instructions and pics.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I made the recipe. It's delicious. Greetings from Mexico!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm SO Pleased that you enjoyed it! And thanks for the greetings! Please share my blog with your family and friends. Julie

      Delete
  3. This may seem like a stupid question, but did you just eat the whole baby artichoke?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL... that's not a stupid question at all. These "baby artichokes" are actually a different variety altogether from the globe artichokes that you may be used to. While I LOVE steamed globe artichokes dipped in drawn butter, I can't imagine anyone could eat the leaves of one of those prickly beasts! On the other hand, If the Baby Artichokes are white on the inside, they are completely edible. You have to ask your produce manager.

      Here is a little link about them.
      http://artichokes.org/recipes-and-such/basic-preparation/completely-edible-baby-artichokes

      Thanks for the question - you are probably NOT the only one who wondered that! And please come back to my blog to visit again.
      Julie

      Delete
  4. Hey Julie,

    Any recommendations as to what to serve them with? Thinking of doing them for dinner tonight, but I'm not wholly sure what would work with them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel -
      I served them with a crunchy trout almondine, sliced creole tomatoes and hot French bread. You could certainly do a baked fish or baked chicken recipe, or even pork tenderloin on the grill/in the oven. I wouldn't go too heavy or too "saucy," as these have a lovely sauce of their own. Please let me know how they come out for you. :)

      Julie

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