Artichokes are one of those vegetables I’ve typically bought marinated in a jar ready to eat. When I decided to try making them fresh, I learned three things. The preparation time is long; you need to be careful of the tiny leaves with exceptionally sharp barbs in the center guarding the heart of the artichoke, and the taste is amazing! The flavor is so much richer and intense from those in a jar. Then paired with the rich flavors of the minced garlic, acidic tomatoes, briny capers and creamy Parmesan in the bruschetta filling, it was so worth the time it took making them!
4 large fresh artichokes
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
4 Roma tomatoes, finely minced
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup capers, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of one lemon
1) Mix the lemon juice with enough cold water in a large bowl to cover the artichokes.
2) Using a serrated knife, slice the stem off the bottom of the artichoke flat to the base, then slice off the top third of the artichoke. Discard. Using kitchen shears, trim the sharp barbs off the leaves cutting the leaves horizontally.
3) Next, scoop out the small inner leaves within the core until you get to the heart of the artichoke. Be careful as the barbs on the smaller leaves are still very sharp. Immerse the prepared artichokes in the lemon water as you go to prevent them from turning brown.
4) Prepare a steamer on the stove and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan beneath the steamer insert. Set the temperature to medium-high.
5) When the water starts the boil, place the artichokes in the steamer facing up. Cover the pan and steam the artichokes for 20 to 30 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. Add water to the pan as needed if it evaporates.
6) While the artichokes are steaming, combine the remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
7) When the artichokes are tender, remove them from the pan and invert them for 5 minutes to drain any water and to allow them to cool.
8) Once cooled, fill the inner cavity of the artichokes with the bruschetta filling as well as along the outer leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.