Stuffed Artichokes

Growing up in California I was spoiled with great produce. My family and I used to head down to the farmers markets on the weekends. Snacking on the fresh fruits as we looked at all of the stalls and always leaving with veggies for dinner and a few honey sticks for the road. Being around all the fresh produce I was exposed to all kinds of great and unusual vegetables. One veggie that is a clear California staple that somehow seems to often get ignored by the rest of the states is the beloved artichoke. 

 
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I remember bringing a few friends from the east coast back to California with me, and ordering an artichoke at lunch. They tried to play off their confusion over how to eat it as they had only ever tried artichoke dip which comes with a side of chips. When the flowery green arrived both of them hesitantly bit right in. At that point I realized that they clearly needed some help/ an explanation as to how to properly eat this strange vegetable. Thankfully they loved it after they realized that you don't consume the entire leaf and are now artichoke aficionados. 

Craving a little piece of home I whipped up this beauty the other night. It is my play on artichoke dip, cheesy with a nice crunch but still maintains the true artichoke form. 

 
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What You'll Need

1 Artichoke 

2 Lemons halved

1/4 cup grated Fontina Cheese

1 Garlic Clove minced

2 Tbsp Cream 

2 Tsp Fresh Thyme chopped

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

3 Tbsp Panko Breadcrumbs

S&P to taste

Directions

1. Prep the artichoke by cutting off the stem (so that the artichoke may sit flat) and remove a few of the outside pieces.

2. Add the artichoke and 1 and 1/2 lemons to a boiling pot of salted water and cook covered for 30 minutes

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

4. Mix together the cheese, garlic, cream, and thyme and set aside. 

5. Remove the artichoke from the water using tongs and place on a metal baking dish. (I prefer a brownie tray or something with a rim as the artichoke may release some water and some of the filling.)

6. Remove a few of the inner petals using a fork (being careful as the artichoke is still very hot). Add about half of the filling to the center of the artichoke and then, using the remainder of the mixture, begin to carefully work your way out from the center tucking it into the outer petals. 

7. Squeeze with the remaining lemon, drizzle lightly with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper (remember the cheese is salty so you don't want to overdo it). Sprinkle the tops with the breadcrumbs.

8. Place the artichoke in the oven and bake for 20 min or until the breadcrumbs are nice a toasted. 

Serve warm and enjoy!