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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Prosciutto Stuffed Artichokes

Growing up my parents fed us a serious variety of foods. I'm talking foods that most parents might not eat let alone decide to feed their children. Now don't get the wrong idea, my mother and father were not feeding us road kill or anything disgusting or harmful but they did make sure to feed us obscure vegetables, uncommon spices and a variety of dishes that one might not consider making on a random Monday night. I am so grateful that I was exposed to so many different foods because as an adult I am pretty sure that I can count how many foods I wont eat on half a hand. One being okra. Ugh, sorry for any okra lovers out there but the slime factor is just too much for me to handle!

I can remember having company over for dinner on evening and my mother served steamed artichokes as a side dish. Now your probably thinking ok artichokes are not an uncommon vegetable, and I would agree, but to our company they were. In fact they did not even know what an artichoke was and had obviously never tasted one. It was a very funny experience that I can still vividly remember some 25 years later. 
Growing up we ate our artichokes very simply; just steamed. Sometimes we would have a little mayonnaise on the side to dip our soft meaty leaves into; but other than that, that is as fancy as it got. Now a days I like to add a bit more flavor to my artichokes and this recipe is a favorite of mine. The stuffing has a great combination of flavors including prosciutto, lemon zest, parsley, and garlic to name a few. And the leaves of the artichoke are great accessories for scooping up all of the fallen stuffing. Couldn't be easier, a completely self contained meal and delicious as well!

Prosciutto Stuffed Artichoke

4 artichokes
2 lemons
3 cups panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese
3/4 cup minced prosciutto
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon clack pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
chicken stock

To prepare the artichokes cut the stem off very close to the base so that the artichoke can stand flat on its own. Cut about a half an inch off of the top of the artichoke and with scissors snip thorny tips from the remaining leaves.
With a spoon, scoop out the choke in the center of the artichokes 
Cut one lemon in half and squeeze into a large bowl of cold water. Toss in the squeezed lemon halves along with the artichokes to prevent discoloration while you make the stuffing.
In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, prosciutto, garlic, parsley, chili flakes, pepper, zest from remaining lemon and olive oil. Taste for salt.

Drain artichokes. Working with one artichoke at at time, set in the bowl of breadcrumb mixture and start to separate the leaves while pushing stuffing inside.

Set the artichokes in a pot fitted with a tight lid. Pour stock in approximately 1/3 of the way up the sides of the artichokes. Bring the stock to a boil, cover pot, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook, 30-35 minutes then transfer your pot to the oven to broil for about 7-10 minutes until tops are golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

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