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Baked Stuffed Artichokes

Yield: 6 servings

  • 6 medium artichokes
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leafed (Italian) parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried, or 2 tsp. fresh oregano
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs, from good bread
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or 3/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • about 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Fill a large bowl half-way with water and add the lemon juice. Snip the barbed end of each artichoke leaf off with a scissors. Slice off the top 1/2 inch and the stem. Immediately as each artichoke is trimmed, place it in the lemon-water, turning to coat.

When all the artichokes are prepared, place them in a non-reactive pot, stem side down (it’s ok if they fit snugly, but must be in one layer). Smash and peel the garlic and add it to the pot. Add the salt and water to reach about 1/3 of the way up the artichokes. Cover tightly and place on high flame. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer. Cook until a leaf can just be pulled from an artichoke, about 1/2 hour. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon, and let cool inverted on a rack, to drain.

While the artichokes are cooking, melt the butter in a skillet with the olive oil, add the onion, and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the parsley and oregano. Stir over low flame briefly, then add the bread crumbs and a generous grinding of black pepper. Stir until the bread crumbs become fragrant and begin to turn golden. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the cheese and again toss. Taste for seasoning and adjust, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the center leaves of the cooled artichokes apart very gently, and remove the "choke", the fuzzy fibers in the center, by scraping carefully with a spoon.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stuff the artichokes, adding some of the mixture to the center of each one, and then gently spread the leaves to fill in between with the rest. Place upright in a baking pan. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake 25 minutes or until hot through, with the crumbs browned at the top. Serve warm.