The globe artichoke is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food.
The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers (an inflorescence), together with many bracts, on an edible base. Once the buds bloom, the structure changes to a coarse, barely edible form. Another variety of the same species is the cardoon, a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region. Both wild forms and cultivated varieties (cultivars) exist.
The blossom of the thistle, improved by the Arabs, passed from Naples to Florence in 1466, carried by Filippo Strozzi. Towards 1480 it is noticed in Venice, as a curiosity. But very soon veers towards the northwest.
Artichoke beds are mentioned in Avignon by the notaries from 1532 onward; from the principle towns they spread into the hinterlands … appearing as carchofas at Cavaillon in 1541, at Chateauneuf du Pape in 1553, at Orange in 1554. The local name remains carchofas, from the Italian carciofo … They are very small, the size of a hen’s egg … and are still considered a luxury, a vaguely aphrodisiac tidbit that one preserved in sugar syrup.
6 medium artichokes
1 1/4 cups of bread crumbs (plain)
1/2 cup of grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of minced garlic (fresh or jar)
3/4 Tsp of salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup of olive oil or vegetable oil
Cut off the stem and 1/4 off the top of an artichoke.
Then remove some of the outer leaves at the bottom.
Use scissors to clip off top of side leaves. (That removes the sticky point on each leaf)
Then wash in a deep bowl.
Fill a large pot with water and boil. Place the artichokes in the pot carefully and lower heat to medium for about 7 minutes.
Fork test bottom of an artichoke for tenderness. If a fork goes in and out easily, they are done.
Next drain and run cold water on artichokes let them sit and cool off.
While they are cooling down, mix the bread crumbs, parsley, minced garlic, grated cheese, and a sprinkle of salt with pepper. Mix in a little oil with hands. When it feels like a sandy consistency then you are ready to fill.
Gently spread the leaves a little apart and sprinkle some of the bread crumb mixture between each of the leaves.
Place the now stuffed artichokes in a glass Pyrex baking dish. (7x11x1.5)
Drizzle a small amount of oil on top of each artichoke.
Put a small amount of water in the bottom of a pan about 1/4 inch deep.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes at 350° F.
The top should be a little browned and crispy, when they are ready to eat.
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