“Okey dokey, artichoke-y.”
“After a while, crocodile.”
It’s funny the foods that permeate your childhood and discovering the source as an adult. For me, the ah-ha moment was a trip to Sicily a few years ago, in April, with my family. You cannot move about Sicily in the spring without being visually assaulted by artichokes, artichokes everywhere.
I’ve talked a little bit about this trip before and its impact on me, in terms of noticing how much of Italy’s culture actually permeated my life in big and not-so-big ways. That sounds a little simplistic but it was actually, really shocking to my system. This is why my mother talks the way she does. This is why we eat this. It’s one thing to know, intellectually, that Italians talk with their hands; it’s another to be confronted with it so specifically and see actual gestures that you thought only belonged to you or your family.
Stuffed artichokes were a staple at some holidays and the occasional weeknight treat, a favorite of my sister Jenn’s, and something I have never once attempted to make myself, until this week. Stuffed artichokes are one of those things that felt like they belonged firmly with my mom and my aunts- I always found artichokes kind of fussy and hard to eat for such little reward. But you can’t deny how unique and beautiful they are and that they’re actually fun to eat and share around a big table. Now when I see them, they remind me of streetcarts in Sicily, which isn’t such a bad thing either.
Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes
Makes 4 Servings | Print Recipe
4 Medium-sized artichokes
1 Cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 Cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1/2 Cup parmiggiano reggiano cheese, shavings
1/2 Cup toasted chopped almonds
3 Cloves finely chopped garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Note: I found a great post today about cleaning and prepping artichokes- did you know artichokes are among the most heavily sprayed vegetables? I didn’t. Definitely worth the quick read (and the recipe looks amazing too).
- Clean the artichokes by pulling the harder, outer leaves off. You can also cut the stem and the top part of the leaves (which also gives it a really pretty look, as you can tell from Nicole’s pictures.)
- Put the artichokes in a bowl full of water and lemon juice to soak. Give them a quick rinse.
- Place asauté pan over medium-low heat and warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add bread crumbs and stir, sautéing until the crumbs are likely golden. Remove and let cool in a bowl.
- To the bread crumbs, add finely chopped parsley, garlic, salt and pepper, grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir until combined.
- Take the artichokes and pull the leaves back a bit, opening them as wide as you can and insert the bread crumb mixture and parm shavings. Drizzle artichokes with olive oil.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In an oven-safe saucepan, add 1 and 1/2 inches of water and place artichokes, standing up. Cover pan and place on stove over medium heat, cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove cover and place in the oven for 10-15 more minutes.