Souffles. Poached Eggs.  Hollandaise Sauce.  All things that are on a list I saw recently of ingredients or dishes that many find intimidating to try.  While I am proud to say that I have made (without much fear) some of the items on this list (scallops, rack of lamb, risotto), there is one on there that I agree has intimated me for years.  Artichokes.

Now why am I so intimidated by these pretty bulbs?  Maybe because I’ve had badly prepared artichokes.  Tough, stringy, sharp, bland leaves that make you wonder who on earth ever decided to try and eat these things. Or maybe because I’ve had really well-prepared ones. Tender, rich, delicate and STUFFED.  Oh, did I mention that my favorite artichoke preparations include more than just the flower head of these plants?  Bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, olive oil–all things that can make just about anything taste good.

But my apprehension remained.  Every year when these gorgeous plants would show up at local farmer’s markets, I’d ooo- and ahh- over their pretty green and purple hues, ogle the various sizes produced, and wonder if I’d ever get over myself and just give them a try.

Pearl Market Produce
                                                            Who wouldn’t want to dive into this pile of gorgeous produce?

Well, that apprehension finally dissipated on a recent stroll through my favorite Farmer’s Market here in San Antonio–the Pearl Farmers Market. Aside from just being a great location to stroll and gawk at gorgeous produce, the area is a revitalized mixed use space just adjacent to downtown San Antonio.  A former brewery, it now houses restaurants, shops, loft apartments, and even one of the three locations of the CIA–The Culinary Institute of America.  Yeah, it’s pretty cool even when the market isn’t open on the weekends.

But on those Saturday and Sunday mornings when the vendors put out all of their seasonal produce and other offerings, a stroll through the stalls, cup of coffee and empanada in hand (my favorite market breakfast, FYI), items like these beautiful artichokes called to me enough to make me throw my fear out the window and finally jump in.

I. Am. So. Glad. I. Did.

Stuffed ArtichokesWhen another customer told me that they were so much easier than I thought they’d be, she was right.  And once I got these beauties home and prepped, we had a delicious appetizer in front of us in no time.

Make these for a crowd and stand back as guests pick their way through the tender leaves and take advantage of the flavorful filling.  Serve with a chilled, dry white wine, and you’ve got yourself a party!

No muss, no fuss, and no intimidation in sight.

Artichokes & Friends
Farmers Market Finds: Stuffed Artichokes
Print Recipe
I am done being intimidated by vegetables! A few carefully placed snips, another couple scoops of choke, and these beauties are ready to be stuffed, steamed, and enjoyed. While this version uses Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in the filling, you could certainly omit or swap out the cheese and bread crumbs with vegan versions to make this vegetarian dish vegan-friendly. You'll be wondering why you didn't try these simple and satisfying bulbs before!
Servings Prep Time
3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Artichokes & Friends
Farmers Market Finds: Stuffed Artichokes
Print Recipe
I am done being intimidated by vegetables! A few carefully placed snips, another couple scoops of choke, and these beauties are ready to be stuffed, steamed, and enjoyed. While this version uses Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in the filling, you could certainly omit or swap out the cheese and bread crumbs with vegan versions to make this vegetarian dish vegan-friendly. You'll be wondering why you didn't try these simple and satisfying bulbs before!
Servings Prep Time
3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Instructions
  1. Rinse and dry the artichokes. Using a very sharp knife, cut off the stems all the way to the bottom of the bulbs. Cut off hte top of the artichoke leaves and bulb, making sure to snip the tips off of all remaining leaves (they're sharp!).
    Prepping Artichokes
  2. Carefully begin to pull the leaves away from the center of the bulb to reveal the core of the artichoke. You will see a soft and fuzzy yellow center. Using a melon baller, remove the choke and discard. Place the artichokes, cut side up, in a large dutch oven.
    Cored Artichokes
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, oregano, and parsley. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil and stir to combine. Salt & pepper stuffing mixture to taste.
    Artichoke Stuffing Mixture
  4. Using a small spoon, carefully stuff the bread mixture into the middle of the artichoke, as well as into the base of each leaf. If you don't have enough stuffing for each and every leaf, that's OK. Be sure not to over stuff the artichoke--you don't want the leaves to be coming off. Squeeze half of a lemon over the top of the artichokes. Drizzle with additional tbsp. of olive oil.
    Lemon Squeeze for Stuffed Artichokes
  5. Pour vegetable broth into bottom of pot. Cover and cook artichokes over medium to medium low heat for 45 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and easily pull away from the artichoke base.
    Stuffed Artichokes
  6. Serve immediately. To eat, simply pull leaves away from base and enjoy the tender goodness at the base of each leaf.
    Stuffed Artichokes
Recipe Notes

What's so great about this recipe is that you can add whatever flavors you want to the stuffing.  Don't have fresh oregano on hand?  Use thyme instead.  Don't have Parmesan in the house?  Use mozzarella for a gooey version of the stuffing.  Get playful and have some fun with what you stuff in there!

Wondering what to drink with these elegant and scrumptious artichokes? Because of the chemical makeup of the artichoke (it can make many wines taste sweeter, which can be off-putting for some), I reach for a yummy Sauvignon Blanc (one of my absolute favorite summer wines).  The green minerality and crisp citrus in this wine is a perfect counterpoint for the natural flavors of the artichoke.  The garlic in this particular stuffing will help with that balance as well.

Have you ever tried making artichokes?  How have you made them?  Steamed?  Baked?  Grilled?  I want to to hear all of the great variations out there!

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