Preparation / Directions:
If you savor the flavor of artichokes, stuffed Italian style with lots of Romano and olive oil, but you avoid making them because you think it's too much work, you're gonna love this super-easy way to fix Frank's Old New Orleans Stuffed Artichokes. Regardless of how you've done them before, you owe it yourself to try this method!
1. Trim off the stalk portion of the raw artichoke as close to the leaves as you can get (and trim it straight so that it sits nice and level).
2. Then with a very sharp knife -- an electric knife is best -- cut off the top third of the artichoke so that the upper leaves are exposed.
3. Next, wash the artichoke thoroughly, inside and out, and rub the cut edges with a piece of fresh lemon to keep the leaves from turning brown.
4. Then, using a melon baller or small teaspoon, dig out the "choke", the prickly, fuzzy center of the artichoke. But remember, you just want to remove the center thistle (that's the purple part), not all the inside tender leaves.
5. Now, rinse the artichoke again, rub it once more with lemon juice, and turn it upside down on a couple of paper towels to drain. Prepare all the artichokes you plan to fix this way and set them aside momentarily. Because at this point, you're ready to stuff!
MAKING THE STUFFING MIX: Simply add all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and mix them thoroughly with your hands until uniformly blended. Now, working with one artichoke at a time, place it in the bowl of stuffing mix and begin heaping the mixture over the top of the leaves. Then, just like shuffling a deck of cards, run your thumb over the leaves and allow the stuffing to drop between them until the spaces are filled. [I've seen him do this on TV; after you've piled the stuffing crumbs on the artichoke, put your thumb at the center of the artichoke, and then "thumb" toward the outside. Keep turning the artichoke while you do it several times, piling more stuffing on top of the artichoke periodically. It looks as if it takes a while to get it really stuffed, but so does the slow way I used to do it, stuffing each leaf at a time.] The more you stuff the leaves, the larger the artichoke will become. Do all the artichokes this way. Incidentally, the mixture above will stuff a half-dozen artichokes nicely. To do a dozen, just double the recipe. Now, lay 1 thin slice of lemon and one anchovy fillet on each artichoke and place the artichokes into a steamer pot (or seafood boiling pot with a basket) so that they just touch each other -- this keeps the outer leaves from falling off. Then add about 4 cups of water to the steamer, bring it to a slow boil, and place the lid on the pot. (For best results, set the heat to about medium.) Total cooking time is about an hour and 15 minutes for medium artichokes to about an hour and a half for large ones. But every 15 minutes, remove the lid carefully (Watch the Steam!) and -- in a thin stream -- pour some of the olive oil over the top of the artichokes. [The game plan is to use the entire quart of olive oil during this time frame. ] Then replace the lid and continue cooking until a meat fork will pierce the artichoke through and through. You can serve these hot or cold.
1. Add extra cheese to the stuffing mix if you want a heavy cheese flavor in your artichokes. Most Italians mix their stuffing to taste. I recommend you use the mixture I gave you as a base and add to it according to your tastes.
2. Don't be afraid to make more mix than you need. It freezes well in Ziploc bags and it's excellent as a coating for veal cutlets, pork chops, meatballs, chicken and seafood.
3. To serve the artichokes hot, cook them about three-quarters of the way in the steamer, then transfer them to a baking pan, along with about 1-1/2 cup of the steaming liquid. Then sprinkle a little extra Romano cheese over each artichoke, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and bake in your oven at 325F for 30 minutes.
4. Don't just stuff a few artichokes! Stuff about a dozen of 'em when you make them. If you savor the flavor of artichokes, stuffed Italian style with lots of Romano and olive oil, but you avoid making them because you think it's too much work, you're gonna love this super-easy way to fix Frank's Old New Orleans Stuffed Artichokes. Regardless of how you've done them before, you owe it yourself to t