Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cheese Stuffed Artichokes

Artichoke season is just around the corner and what better way to have fun with your food than eating it leaf by leaf.  I think that's why I love them so much... because it takes time to eat (I get fuller slower) and can saver the tasty flavors of this meaty vegetable.  As a kid, I just dipped the leaves in melted butter with pepper, but lately I've experimented by stuffing the center with salty, aged cheeses like Gruyere and Cheddar.  It makes a fun dip for kids or adults and is a pretty presentation for parties (hint: Oscars appetizer!).  This recipe has an Italian twist with minced garlic and lemon thyme added to the cheese mixture.  Enjoy!

What you'll need: serves 2-4

2 large artichokes
2 lemons
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp half and half
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp breadcrumbs (gluten free or regular)
olive oil to drizzle on top

Prep the artichokes by cutting off the stem as close to the base of the artichoke as possible to allow it to stand up in the oven.  Cut an inch off the tip of the artichoke and snip off the points of the leaves with kitchen shears.  Remove any tough leaves near the base.  Over high heat, bring a medium size pot of water to a boil.  Add the artichokes to the pot and squeeze in the juice from the lemons.  This adds flavor to them and helps keep the artichokes from browning too much.  Cook the artichokes until tender, about 30-40 mins.  Take them out and let drain on a kitchen towel (face down).  While those are cooling, start the cheese mixture.  In a small bowl combine the cheese, half and half, minced garlic, thyme and pepper.  Mix until completely incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spread open the center of the artichokes and remove the fuzzy center with a spoon.  Place them in a 8x8in baking dish and stuff the centers with the cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil.  Place in the oven just until the artichokes are heated through and the cheese has completely melted.  Serve hot!

1 comment:

  1. why have i never tried this? yum. fabulous post, love. thanks for sharing. if you get a sec, I'd love to hear what you think of my Shoemint photo shoot. xo