Italian-Style Stuffed Jumbo Artichokes

Stuffing for 2 jumbo artichokes

Whenever I saw jumbo artichokes measuring 12-14" in circumference in the market, I was intimated by their size and daunted to try them for fear they would be tough and tasteless. The size itself makes you wonder how one person could eat a whole artichoke. I finally decided that the only way to use them was to make the artichoke the whole meal by adding a stuffing. I developed this hearty stuffing based on a classic Italian recipe for stuffed artichokes called carciofi alla romana. That recipe calls for a stuffing of only chopped parsley, mint and garlic so I augmented it with other ingredients so the stuffed artichoke could serve as a meal in itself. To cook a stuffed artichoke, you must steam it instead of boiling it.

Preparation:

Prepare 2 jumbo artichokes as follows:

While you are preparing the stuffing, put a steamer rack into a large pot and add enough water to create steam without allowing water to touch the bottom of the artichoke. Cover and heat.

Stuffing: (adjust quantity depending on size of artichoke)

5 slices mortadella (regular or low salt), finely diced
4 large cloves garlic (inner green sprout removed), finely chopped
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 cup finely grated asiago cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped mint and chopped parsley in equal amounts
2 TBS olive oil
1 whole egg,lightly beaten
black pepper to taste
sea salt (use it sparingly if you used regular mortadella, which contains a lot of salt)

Serving:

Each artichoke will be a full and complete meal in itself. It's not necessary to serve it with any thing else. But if you don't feel comfortable serving just the artichoke, you could accompany it with a bright cherry tomato salad with an fresh oregano vinaigrette and warmed baguettes.

Notes:

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