The Secret Life of Artichokes

by Rona Berg

Unless you grow up with artichokes, they can be quite intimidating. Figuring out how to prepare them, cook them, even eat them can be a puzzle. After all, they look more sculptural than edible! Not quite a vegetable, the ubiquitous globe artichoke, also known as French artichoke and green artichoke in the U.S., is a variety of the thistle plant, cultivated as a food. 

Everyone agrees that artichokes taste delicious—and they are loaded with magnesium, pre- and probiotics, antioxidant vitamins, potassium and iron. They’re high in fiber and protein, they can strengthen your gut and may boost your immune system. Plus, they plate beautifully and make an elegant
and delicious dish. 

I spoke with Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of fresh artichokes in the U.S., for a few tips, and a delicious—and easy—recipe. 

Stuffed Artichokes

4 large organic artichokes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Filling:

1 pound ground Italian sausage 

4 cloves garlic (minced)

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 

1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Rinse artichokes under cold water. Cut an inch off the tops of the artichokes and cut off the stems to make a flat bottom. Trim the sharp tips off the leaves.

2. Bring a large pot of salt water to boil. Add the artichokes and cover. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside upside down to drain and cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

4. In a large bowl, mix the Italian sausage, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan until just combined. Do not overmix.

5. Once the artichokes are cool enough to handle, dry with paper towels, gently pry open the center leaves, and use a spoon to scoop out the fuzzy choke inside. Place the artichokes into a stoneware baking dish, facing up.

6. Drizzle the artichokes all over with lemon juice and olive oil, including tops and sides.

7. Stuff each artichoke with the sausage mixture, making sure you get some between all the leaves and in the center. Sprinkle the artichokes with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

8. Cover the baking dish. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the sausage is cooked through (to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F) and the outer leaves are easy to remove.

9. Remove the cover. Set the oven to broil and place the stuffed artichokes under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese. Enjoy!

You may also like