Of all the delicious spring vegetables that are in season right now, the gorgeous globe artichoke is one of my favourites. A filling made with bread, garlic, oregano, black olives, and parsley is stuffed between the leaves of whole artichokes and is steamed with yellow potatoes until tender. Topped off with lots of olive oil and extra parsley for garnish- this is the perfect spring-time recipe.
Every Rose Has It’s Thorns
If you have ever heard the saying “every rose has it’s thorns”, this definitely applies to the artichoke…almost literally.
The most prized part of the artichoke is the heart. When cooked, it is soft, creamy and meaty and is definitely the reward of the vegetable. But to get to the heart, you have to get passed the prickly leaves and spiny thistle inside of it. At the center of the artichoke, there is a thistle called the “choke”. While you probably won’t actually choke if you ate it, it would definitely be very uncomfortable to swallow it!
The risk is worth the reward though! Not only do artichokes taste amazing when cooked, they are also so beautiful. I love the springy, flower-like look of them in general. When uncooked, the tightly packed, overlapping leaves on the artichoke looks like a budding flower, and then when it’s all cooked, the leaves open up and it looks like it has magically bloomed. So cute!
When are Fresh Artichokes in Season?
You can get artichokes is from March through June, but during this time of year, they are typically imported from California or Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Spain. Domestic artichokes become available in late summer, between August to September.
I picked up these lovely artichokes from The Root Cellar, but you can get them in most grocery stores when they are in season.
How to Prepare Fresh Artichokes
Now, while you have probably gobbled down artichokes hearts before in mere seconds in salads, dips, or on pizza, preparing (and eating) a whole artichoke is quite a process- but trust me, it is definitely worth it with this recipe. Here are some key preparation tips:
- After washing the artichokes well, trim the stems off so the artichoke sits flat.
- Pull a few of the beaten up or discoloured leaves off the artichoke- they are really tough and not good to eat.
- Use a sharp knife to trim 1 to 2 centimeters off the top of the artichoke. This will remove some of the prickly bits and will make it much easier to stuff with the filling.
- Once you have trimmed the top of the artichoke, rub the exposed area and the stem with piece of sliced lemon. This will prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown.
How to Eat Maltese Stuffed Artichokes
No matter what, the first step to eating your cooked artichoke will be to ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES because it’s going to get messy in here! You can’t care what you look like when you’re eating this at all (kind of like when you eat chicken wings), you just gotta get in there and enjoy it!
To eat the artichoke, pull the leaves off one by one and scrape the inside of the leaf (where the meat is near the base of the leaf) with your bottom teeth. The best bites are where you can get some of the stuffing onto the leaf and scrape it off along with the artichoke meat. Ah, sooooo good!
The outside leaves are quite fibrous, and you can’t really chew them, but as you work your way to the inside of the artichoke the leaves get softer and softer to a point where you can almost eat the whole leaf. Just avoid eating the prickly ends of the leaves and you will be fine!
Now, the fun part! After you have eaten your way down through all the leaves, you will arrive at the most treasured part of the artichoke: the heart. You will see a stringy pale-yellow thistle on top of the heart and this is called the “choke”. You CANNOT eat this part, so scrape off the thistle with your fingers or a spoon. Once that is out of the way, the soft fleshy heart underneath can be eaten. I like to dip it in a bit of olive oil on my plate and eat it all in one go. It’s absolutely amazing and so creamy!
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Maltese Stuffed Artichokes
- 4 large globe artichokes
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 fresh baguette or crusty white bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup Kalamata olives sliced
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano dried
- 1 cup parsley chopped
- 1 cup olive oil
- Water for boiling
- 8-10 small yellow potatoes
- Begin by preparing the stuffing. Add the cubed bread, olives, garlic, and oregano to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of parsley and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Mix to combine and set aside.
- Give the artichokes a good rinse under cold water. Slice off the stems so the artichokes sit upright on a flat surface. Immediately rub a piece of sliced lemon on the area that was cut to avoid it from turning brown.
- Next, peel off the outer layers of the artichoke leaves. These are often discoloured and tough and are not good to eat. Peel at least one to two layers of leaves off depending on how the artichoke looks. You want to see soft green leaves.
- Using a sharp knife, slice 1-2 centimetres off the top of the artichoke. This will open up the artichoke and make it easier to stuff and will get rid of some of the prickly ends of the leaves. Again, rub this area that was just cut with a slice of lemon to avoid it from turning brown.
- To stuff the artichoke, pry the leaves back gently and add the filling between the leaves. You don't have to fill in every leaf, just try and distribute the stuffing evenly throughout the whole artichoke. It's way easier to use your hands than a spoon so get right in there! Once the artichokes are both stuffed, set aside.
- Bring a large pot with 2-3 centimetres of water in it to a boil. Add the whole potatoes and the halved lemon that was used to rub the artichokes. Nestle the artichokes on top of the potatoes in a single layer. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium.
- Let the artichokes steam for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the artichokes. Check the water level halfway through the cooking process. If most of the water has boiled off, add a splash more. You can tell when the artichokes are cooked when you can insert a paring knife easily into the base of the artichoke, the artichokes have turned dark green, and their leaves come off easily when pulled.
- Remove the artichokes from the pot using a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter or plate. Drain any remaining water from the pot, leaving the potatoes inside. Add 1/4 cup of chopped parsley and 1/4 cup olive oil to the potatoes. Mix the parsley, olive oil, and potatoes together until the potatoes are fully coated. Scoop out the potatoes and arrange them around the artichokes. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of parsley and 1/4 cup olive oil. Serve right away and enjoy!
How to Eat Steamed Artichokes:
- To eat your artichoke, peel the leaves off one at a time. Put a leaf inside your mouth and pull the leaf down, using your bottom teeth to scrape off the meat. Keep going until you get all the way to the middle of the artichoke. As you get closer to the centre, the leaves will get more tender.
- Once you get to the middle of the artichoke, you will come to a fuzzy specimen. This is the "choke". You don't want to eat this though, so use a spoon to gently scrape off the choke. Keep scraping until the whole choke is removed.
- Now you have finally arrived at the heart of the artichoke. You can use a spoon to scoop it out, but I like to rip it in half smother it in olive oil and eat it! Regardless, it tastes so creamy and rich and is the perfect way to end this messy meal!
One thought on “Maltese Stuffed Artichokes”
Excellent!! I never tried with Olives Yummy!! Although I chop up Portabella Mushrooms for Crunch!!