One of my favorite things to do is to randomly pick out something at the grocery store that I either have no idea what it is or have never prepared it before in my life. And that's where these artichokes came in. Although I've had them a few times, I've never actually prepared them. And not only have I never prepared them, but I actually had no idea what to do with them. But that didn't scare me. I immediately threw 2 in my bag and vowed to hit up both Google and my go-to cookbook when I got home. (Seriously, if you do not have either Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" or "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," then you must get thee straight to your bookstore).
Anyway, I came home, threw these on the counter and stared at them for a bit before I tackled them. First off, watch this video. It will absolutely give you the tools you need to prepare them. Secondly, I caution you - artichokes are dangerous little things and have sharp little spiky points, so use caution when preparing them. And finally, I won't lie when I say these are sort of a high-maintenance vegetable to prepare. You peel, core, and prepare them, and then it's 25 minutes in the steamer, followed by 20 minutes in a hot oven. The good part, though, is that most of this time is non-active time, so it's not like you're slaving over a hot stove endlessly.
For the stuffing, I used panko, but only because I love the light flaky texture of it. You can easily substitute regular bread crumbs. I also used fresh thyme, but only because I had it on hand. Feel free to use whatever fresh herb floats your boat. I also used a truffle olive oil, but only because I could.
No matter how you make these, I can guarantee they will be surprisingly delicious and well worth the prep time.
2 large artichokes
1/2 c Italian Seasoned panko crumbs
1/4 c freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
Destem, de-choke, and remove the tough outer leaves from the artichokes. (the video is very helpful for this). Bring a steamer with water to a boil. Add artichokes, bottoms up, to steamer and steam for 20 minutes. While they are steaming, combine remaining ingredients in bowl. Remove artichokes from steamer and place bottom down in a baking dish. Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle artichokes with a small amount of olive oil. Place spoonfulls of stuffing mix in center, as well as packed in between the leaves. Place into oven and bake for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.