Artichokes are scary. They’re spiny, difficult to break down, and it seems like you toss more than you eat. Artichokes are also delicious. Which led me to face my fear of swollen, artichoke-stabbed hands, and try making Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for baked artichokes:
I won’t say that my first time prepping an artichoke was easy, but it was doable. The instructions from the recipe and my copy of Joy of Cooking helped a lot. I also found this lovely instructional video for those of you who are feeling adventurous also.
The beginning of this recipe only goes about halfway through the prep process before boiling the artichokes in lemon water. I don’t think removing the choke before boiling would make much difference, and maybe it’s just easier to remove after the artichokes have been cooked a bit. So while the artichokes are boiling away, mix up an herby/cheesy sauce of Gorgonzola, cream, thyme, parsley, garlic, and S&P. Once the cooked artichokes have cooled down, finish the prep process by removing the choke and stuff the cheese into the center of each artichoke. Place the stuffed artichokes in a baking dish, sprinkle them with seasoned breadcrumbs, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25 min at 400F.
Clearly, the hardest part of this recipe is prepping the artichokes! These make a delicious and impressive-looking appetizer. For those unfamiliar with whole cooked artichokes, not only can you eat the tender heart in the center, but you can pull out and eat the bottoms of the remaining leaves, which work especially well as a delivery vehicle for the creamy Gorgonzola stuffing.
Baked Artichokes with Gorgonzola and Herbs
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, foodnetwork.com
3 lemons, plus 1 lemon
10 ounces mild Gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus 1 tablespoon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Trim the artichokes by cutting off the top 1-inch or so. Cut the stem close to the base of the artichoke so the artichoke can sit up straight, and remove some of the bottom leaves. Using kitchen shears, trim the sharp points off of any remaining outer leaves. Add the artichokes to the boiling water. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into the boiling water. Toss in the lemons. Cook the artichokes until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the artichokes and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the Gorgonzola, cream, thyme, 2 teaspoons parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. In another small bowl stir together the bread crumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the center choke of the artichokes using a small spoon. Stuff the cheese mixture into the center of the artichokes. Place the artichokes into a baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the artichokes. Drizzle the tops of the artichokes with olive oil. Bake until the artichokes are heated through, the cheese is melted, and the bread crumbs are crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish and serve.