We have some fabulous globe artichokes in our Community Vegetable Garden at present, but most of the volunteers are reluctant to pick them because they're not sure how to cook them. The easiest way with the smaller ones is to prepare them "a la Grecque".
This way with the larger versions is very delicious though there's a bit of work involved in the preparation.
You will need to start the day before by making the stock and soaking the artichokes in acidulated water. The recipe is from my first cookbook, "The Cook's Garden" (Harper Collins).
- Prep Time : 25-30 minutes
- Cook Time : 50-60 minutes
- Yield : 6
- globe artichokes - 6 medium
- water - approx 1 Litre
- lemon - 1, juice of
- dry breadcrumbs (from 2-3 day old bread) - 150g
- parmesan or grana padana - 60g, grated
- garlic - 3 -4 cloves, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh mint - 4 stalks, leaves removed and finely chopped
- freshly chopped Italian parsley - generous handful
- anchovy fillets - 3, chopped
- prosciutto - 60g, chopped
- chilli - 1 small, finely chopped (optional)
- To Cook
- extra virgin olive oil - 125ml (1/2 cup)
- butter - approx 30g
- hot water
Prepare the artichokes: remove the tough outer leaves and snip off the tips with a pair of scissors. Put the tips and leaves into a saucepan and cover with the water, bring to the boil and simmer 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from heat, strain and reserve the artichoke stock.
Peel about 12.5cm of each stalk with a vegetable peeler, discarding peelings. Put the artichokes and their stalks into a large bowl of water and add the lemon juice. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
Next day, make the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste but don't add salt (because of the cheese, anchovies and prosciutto). Stir well to combine. Remove the artichokes from the water. Turn them upside down and, holding the stalk firmly, beat the head to soften the petals - best to do this over the sink.
Cut off the stalks (reserving them) and use your thumbs to open the petals out. Push the stuffing into the petals and fill each artichoke.
Choose a medium-large saucepan in which the artichokes will fit snugly. Sit the artichokes inside with the reserved stalks between. Drizzle with the olive oil and top each with a knob of butter. Turn on the heat, cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add reserved artichoke stock to come to at least 2.5cm from the top of the artichokes. Bring to boiling point, turn down heat and simmer, half covered until stock is reduced and a leaf from near the base can be easily pulled out, about 50 minutes. There should be about 3cm stock left in the bottom of the pan.
Remove artichokes from pan and allow to cool.
Dress with slices of prosciutto, shavings of parmesan and some freshly chopped Italian parsley.
And remember not to eat the chokes! 🙂