Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Most Interesting Man in the World is ...? - Sprightly Stuffed Artichokes

Politics, Politics, Politics ... You gotta love when both groups of political commentators are pissed at the same candidate.  Yes, I am talking about The Donald.

Incidentally, I created this meme.  No copyright implied or intended.

He's getting more air time than the Kardashians. He's more interesting than The Most Interesting Man in the World. He's got better hair than Fabio, more money than God. He's from New York, and I can't help liking him.  So I am having a lot of fun watching the newsies' antics.  Here he is running as a Republican and Fox News is having a meltdown.  CNN is a bloody mess. Nobody there can think straight, much less speak straight under the best of circumstances. Oh Donald, you naughty, naughty candidate for President of the United States.  Give 'em hell.

There I was in Walmart's produce department, and I had an epiphany: one big artichoke could feed two people.  I was alone - Robert would rather have root canal than shop in Walmart.  I couldn't reach out to strangers because not one of them spoke English.  This is Osceola County, folks.  This would have been okay if my epiphany involved duck (pato) or rabbit (conejo) but I could not even begin to express joy over an artichoke (which, for future reference, is alcachofa en espanol).

If you have every prepared a stuffed artichoke, then you know that it is a royal pain in the culo to stuff each leaf.  It is even worse, however, to remove the choke, that feathery collection of inedible needles that stands between you and the tender, succulent heart.  My epiphany solved both of those problems, and I am quite happy to share it with everyone.

First, take a nice big artichoke, preferably with the stem still attached. Cut a thin slice from the very end of the stem.  Now cut the artichoke in half, right through the stem.  You can see in the photo how the tender meat of the choke actually extends all the way down the center of the stem.  Then, using a metal apple corer, or a tomato shark, remove the choke, and all of the purplish leaves.  Clean out anything inedible.  With kitchen scissors, snip the sharp tips off each leaf.  Rub all the cut edges with the halves of a fresh lemon.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Put the cleaned and trimmed artichoke halves leaf-side up in a baking pan.  Pour the Spite around and over the artichoke halves, and squeeze in any remaining lemon juice.  Cover with foil and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and set aside, leaving the pan covered, while you prepare the stuffing.

1/2 cup small cooked shrimp, chopped finely
1 small jalapeño, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 green onion, white part only, finely chopped
1/2 very small carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh herbs, chopped fine (parsley, tarragon, lemon balm, or your preference)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, and sweet paprika, to taste

Melt the butter in a medium skillet.  Add the jalapeño, garlic, onion, and carrot.  Sauté briefly just to soften the vegetables.  Take off the heat, and add the remaining ingredients.  Set aside to cool, and prepare the béchamel (white sauce):

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk

Once the white sauce is thickened, fold in with the crumb mixture and let cool.  Spoon into a freezer bag, push the filling towards one corner, snip the tip, and pipe filling behind each leaf. Turn the artichoke half over and fill any empty spaces.  Place the stuffed artichokes cut side up in a baking pan and drizzle with some additional melted butter (about 1 tablespoon for each half) and sprinkle some grated Romano cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Enjoy immediately hot from the oven. Don't forget to eat the sweet artichoke flesh from the heart and stem.

PSA Video:

How to make a white sauce

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