Preserved Lemon Stuffed Artichokes
Tonight, I started digging around in the fridge, looking for something to go with the Crockpot Apple Brisket I had cooking for dinner – when I realized that I still had four artichokes left. Mr. Man was wanting me to use them for snacks, but the week had come and gone, and we’d only eaten two of the six that we received this week in our FFTY box as snacks, so we had them for dinner tonight.
Recently I saw this post over at The Kitchn on stuffed artichokes – which I thought was a neat idea, but Mr. Man was pretty adamant that he wanted the artichokes to snack on, so I didn’t think I’d get a chance to make them. But tonight was my lucky night. Earlier in the day, I had made a trip out to Costco – I had intended to get lemons but I completely spaced and forgot them. Which meant that I had to improvise or make lemon-less artichokes (which wasn’t really an option). Fortunately, there was a third option. Hiding in the back of the fridge, I found the jar of preserved lemons I’d made a couple of months ago with an overabundance of Meyer Lemons I had accumulated. Now – don’t get me wrong, I’d known they were there… but… well… I was being a little bit of a wuss, and I’d been afraid to try them. It was my first time making preserved lemons, and I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out, so I’d kept them in the “I’ll try them … sometime.” column.
Well, nothing like being completely out of lemons to push the envelope, you know? So I bravely opened the jar and took a little sniff… they smelled okay… I pulled one out and took an experimental nibble… and boy I can’t believe I took so long to try these! They’re freaking awesome. Salty, lemony goodness. You can pick up Preserved Lemons at ethnic groceries and places like Whole Foods. They’re used in a lot of Moroccan dishes, as well (I foresee a tangine in my future somewhere…) But next time I make a batch, I’ll post pictures & recipe, but in the meantime, Simply Recipes has a great post on it available here.
I liked them so much in fact – that I probably added too much to this recipe – as both Mr. Man and Miss Thing complained that it was a little too lemony (I liked it!). Next time I might halve the preserved lemon – so unless you really like lemon, I would recommend reducing the amount to 1/2 a preserved lemon. (I’ve listed the recipe as I made it). Also – I didn’t rinse the lemon, but – I knew that the bread crumbs I was using didn’t have any added salt (because I’d forgotten to add salt to that loaf of bread… thats a story for another time) and I was using unsalted butter – so I used the preserved lemon to compensate. If you are using salted butter or bread crumbs that have any added salt, you will probably want to rinse your preserved lemon before using it, and if neccessary add some kosher salt to taste. Also – as you might have noticed – I skipped the whole trimming the artichokes. Generally speaking – In my experience, trimming an artichoke is purely for aesthetic reasons, as the thorns get nice and soft upon cooking, so I generally don’t bother. If you want to, you can trim your artichokes, but I won’t tell anyone if you decide to be lazy like me.
- 4 Mediumish Artichokes
- 2 cups Day Old Bread crumbs
- 1 stick Butter
- 1 Preserved Lemon; finely minced (and optionally – rinsed – please read above paragraph)
- 1/4 cup Finely Shredded Mizithra Cheese; divided
- 3 cloves Garlic; finely minced
- 1 tbs Fresh Thyme; finely minced
- Preheat Oven to 450°
- Melt the butter in a hot skillet over medium heat.
- Add the bread crumbs to the butter.
- Fry Bread crumbs until golden
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, preserved lemon, thyme, garlic, and all but 1 tbs or so of the Mizithra cheese
- Set aside the stuffing and prepare the artichokes
- To prepare the artichokes for stuffing – hold the stem of the artichoke, and slam the the tip of the flowering portion in to the counter to loosen the head a little. (Don’t crush it completely)
- Work your fingers down in to the center of the artichoke (be mindful of the thorns) and gently pry the leaves apart, opening the center up
- Cut the stem and (if neccessary) a little of the base of the artichoke to enable it to stand up right
- Repeat for all artichokes to be stuffed
- Fill each artichoke with stuffing, using approximately 1/2 cup stuffing for each artichoke
- Place the stuffed artichokes in to a dutch oven or other oven-safe heavy pan with a tight fitting lid
- Sprinkle tops of artichokes with reserved cheese
- If desired, Trim the very bottom 1/2″ to 1″ of the stem off and discard – cook the remaining stem with the stuffed artichokes
- Cover Artichokes and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until outer leaves can be pulled off fairly easily
- Serve Warm.