Artichokes always reminded me of a flower bud ready to bloom. Indeed they're giant thistle flower buds. I enjoy their versatility in cooking. Although the outer leaves are though and not edible the very ends of those leaves are fleshy and delicious. I cook artichoke hearts in olive oil, make artichoke dip with them, cook them in stew, stuff them and use them in salads or stuff and eat the outer leaf ends and heart. The stuffing I make is easy. For two large artichokes I used vthe following:
1 Cup of bread crumbs or (Panko)
2 Large cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 Cup of Parmigiana Regiano cheese-grated
1/3 Cup chopped fresh parsley
4 Tbsp of olive oil divided (2 Tbsp for stuffing)
1 Cup Water.
*Salt and Pepper to taste*
Mix everything in a bowl and set aside.
Trim the spiky/thorny tips of the artichoke leaves with a pair of kitchen scissors. Cut straight across the top and gently pull apart the leaves and place it in a large pot or microwave safe dish adding water (check your microwave guide for fresh vegetables) par boil for 10 minutes until most of the water is evaporated (add more water if needed-they absorb water as they soften). Remove carefully from pot and turn them upside down to drain any excess water. Once cool enough to handle, place a teaspoonful of the stuffing between each leaf. Place the stuffed artichoke on a foil lined oven tray and drizzle the remaining oil over it. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until leaves turn brown.
There is no proper way of eating this other than scraping off the soft part with your teeth and discarding the leaf. Continue eating the stuffed leaves this way until reaching a fury or fuzzy part in the center. This part is the "choke" and it can be scraped or scooped with a spoon or cut out with a knife revealing the beautiful fleshy "heart". Now, this is the part that you can dip in lemon juice, vinaigrette or any sauce your heart desires. I prefer squeezing lemon juice on mine. My choice of beverage was beer but my husband opted for a glass of white wine which was an excellent choice.
This certainly isn't a date night dish and don't make any plans of kissing the frog and turning him into a prince with all the garlic. Just have lots of napkins and paper towels to avoid having to lick your fingers.....