Baked Artichokes Stuffed with Anchovies and Garlic

This is one of the recipes I used for a Mediterranean themed dinner party I threw last night with SirG. Here it is upon request…This is from the May, 2002 issue of Bon Appetit, Special Collectors Edition, Islands of the Mediterranean. (I have issues dating back to the 1980’s that I can’t bring myself to toss)

Mint and capers grow everywhere on Sicily, and anchovies are always available. here they enhance another island crop: artichokes.

6 servings

4 ounces French bread (1/4 of a 1 pound loaf), crusts removed, bread torn into pieces.

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup purchased unseasoned dry brfeadcrumbs

6 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup drained capers

6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (I used anchovy paste from a tube)

6 garlic cloves; 4 chopped, 2 halved

1 lemon, halved

6 medium artichokes

Place bread in mediumbowl. Pour warm water over; soak 5 minutes. Drain, then squeeze bread dry. Return bread to same bowl. Add 1/2 cup oil, purchased bread crumbs, mint, capers anchovies and chopped garlic; blend well. Season stuffing with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Fill large bowl with water. Squeeze in juice from lemon. Cut off all but 1/1/2 inches of stem from 1 artichoke. Peel stem with vegetable peeler. Starting at bottom of artichoke, snap off outer 3 rows of leaves. Cut off top 1/3 of artichoke. Spread leaves, exposing center. Remove center leaves and bristly choke. (I found this takes a little muscle and determination. Pull out the center leaves and open the choke a bit. I used a small spoon to scrape away at the bristly choke, like scooping out pumpkin seeds) Place artichoke in lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Pour cold water into 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish to reach depth of 1/2 inch. Add halved garlic. Drain artichokes. Pack centers with stuffing. Place artichokes, stuffed side down, in prepared dish. Drizzle with 1/4 cup oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover dish. Bake until tester inserted into artichoke bottoms meets no resistance, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Place artichokes on platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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