Whenever I cook artichokes I never fail to wonder just who was the first person hungry enough to figure out that there’s a little tiny bump of eatable veg at the base of the leaf and some more buried deep in the center. Between the spiked leaves and the hard stem you have sawing and snipping and finally – no, it’s not ready to eat….it’s just ready to start cooking.
It reminds me of the Steve Martin joke about reserve seating in hell. He said it would be for the designers of the artichoke and the CD jewel box wrapper. He wasn’t kidding.
So after you’ve sawed and hedge clipped your artichokes, drop some rosemary and lemon into some water and start heating it like this:
While that’s going, mix the rest of the ingredients, stuff and steam. You can use a spoon to get the stuffing in but I’ve found that fingers do the best job. You’ll find this recipe to be pretty standard for Italian stuffed artichokes. The addition of the shrimp gives a gulf coast feel and although some people use other herbs, I think rosemary is the most complimentary. Just be sure and use the ground version as it mixes better with the bread crumbs.
These things are surprisingly filling so I sometimes get the smaller artichokes if they’re to be the appetizer for a multiple course meal. If you do go that route this amount of stuffing will be good for six or seven small artichokes.
- 4 globe artichokes
- 1⅓ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ½ cup grated parmesan plus 4 tablespoons extra for topping
- ¼ tsp. ground rosemary
- ½ cup diced raw shrimp
- lemon slices & fresh rosemary for the pot
- melted butter
- Cut off the stem at the bottom making it even with the rest of the artichoke.
- Trim off about ⅓rd of the tops of each leaf.
- Gently insert your thumbs down into each leaf pulling it out from the body just enough to create space for the filling.
- Rub all the cut edges with a lemon.
- Put several slices of lemon and a couple of spears of rosemary into the bottom of a steamer or covered pot. Add about an inch of water.
- Mix together breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan, rosemary and shrimp. Note that diced shrimp has a tendency to look diced after you've cut it up but still be connected. So do the mixing with your hands. If you end up with large shrimp clumps just get some scissors and cut them up.
- Carefully insert the stuffing into the leaves, put the artichokes into the pot on the stove top over medium heat and cook for about 30 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily.
- Remove from pot and place in a pan.
- Pour a little melted butter over them. Sprinkle with parmesan and breadcrumbs and run under the broiler for a few minutes to brown.